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Will South S.L. annex Millcreek area?

Townships in Utah must decide type of government by 2010

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Goodbye South Salt Lake, hello Millcreek City?

Residents of the Millcreek Township must decide whether to incorporate into their own city, join another city or stay in unincorporated county.

Other townships are facing the same quandary, and residents will soon be able to weigh in to decide their future. A survey should be in the mailbox by the end of the month, and several town hall meetings are scheduled over the next few weeks.

All township boundaries are set to dissolve in 2010, so those living in the county's townships must decide before then what type of government they want.

A change in government could spell big changes for residents of the townships, namely property tax increases.

South Salt Lake officials are courting Millcreek leaders in an effort to up the city's population base and get a better take on the distribution of sales tax revenues, several county sources said.

Some call it the perfect marriage. Millcreek is full of houses but has little commercial tax base, while South Salt Lake has few homes and is a commercial haven.

"We actually had joked about that before, as a solution to our problem, because we're tax base poor, and they are tax base rich," said Jeff Silvertrini, president of the Association of Community Councils Together.

If Millcreek doesn't go the South Salt Lake route, the township could potentially start up its own city. The problem with that is it would take a substantial tax increase to maintain their current level of municipal services, according to a recent study for the county.

South Salt Lake Council Member Shane Siwik said he hasn't been in on any formal discussions about the possible annexation. The issue may have been on the table for some time, though, he said.

"I'd heard rumors of this, but it's never come to us," he said. "As with anything of this nature, I think it has to be a win-win. ... Right now I would say if it works for both communities then let's talk about it."

South Salt Lake Mayor Bob Gray also said he has heard little about the proposal but is anxious for it to be studied.

A public hearing on the future of the Millcreek Township is Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. at Skyline High School, 3251 E. 3760 South.

Other areas like Kearns face the same problem.

Kearns also has more homes than property-tax generating businesses, so most cities would likely be reticent to want to annex any of that township into their respective cities, Salt Lake County Councilman Randy Horiuchi said.

"They are very concerned about their future," Horiuchi said. He said most residents there would like to stay unincorporated and use Salt Lake County municipal services.

Contributing: Rebecca Palmer

E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com