COALVILLE — The new governing board in Summit County will be controlled by a strong Democratic majority, but council members on both sides say they hope to run affairs in a nonpartisan manner.

"I think everybody has kind of a mix of ideas and things that they think will move us forward," explained John Hanrahan, councilman-elect. "We'll just discuss those as five representatives of the county."

The five-member council elected to supersede Summit County's three-member county commission has a 4-1 Democratic majority. Its first priority will be to hire a county manager to take over the day-to-day business of the county.

A plan to choose the best candidate from a national pool has already been written and the council will basically just follow the plan, said current commissioner and Councilwoman-elect Sally Elliott, a Democrat. The new manager will likely be paid a six-figure income.

Councilman-elect David Ure, a former state representative, hopes to use his political experience to set up policy that will guide the county into the future.

"My main goal was to put in place the fundamental principles of how the county operates," the lone Republican on the council said.

The new council will also face growing traffic problems in Snyderville Basin as well as shrinking revenues and potential battles with state legislators.

To solve the traffic problems, Councilman-elect Christopher Robinson hopes to get more people out of their cars more often.

"There will be a need for more pavement but there's some great trip-reducing strategies that should be implemented first, or if not first, at least hand in hand," the Democrat said. "You can't pave your way out of it."

Robinson said he also hopes the county will become more of a presence at the Legislature during the upcoming 2009 session.

In addition to furthering the county's interest in full funding of the state tourism board, the county is likely to lobby against laws that would make local law officers responsible for federal immigration enforcement.

The tourism board funding is necessary to the county and regional economy, Hanrahan said.

While balancing the shrinking county budget and writing new policies for the council form of governance, the new board also hopes to make its meetings more accessible by holding some of them at night and improving the notices that are issued prior to the meetings.

The new council will also be charged with rewriting the development and land use code for the eastern part of the county, which has traditionally been agricultural.

For more information, visit www.co.summit.ut.us.


E-mail: rpalmer@desnews.com