The future of the Millcreek Township is as uncertain as ever.

More than 600 Millcreek residents packed the Skyline High School gym Tuesday night to debate what type of government should tax them in the future. In the end, the town hall meeting ended up being a sales pitch of all the options Millcreek residents can consider.

Salt Lake County leaders tried to persuade Millcreek residents to stay in the unincorporated county, while Cottonwood Heights Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore tried to lure the crowd into starting their own city, as they would ultimately have more local control as well as having city leaders they can bump into at the supermarket.

Perhaps the best pitchman was South Salt Lake Mayor Bob Gray, who sold the option of annexing into his city. Gray's pitch changed the mind of at least one Millcreek resident.

Before the meeting, D.J. Miller wanted Millcreek to remain as a township (but the only way that could happen is if the Legislature changes the law). But by the end of the nearly three-hour meeting, Miller changed his mind.

"I like the independence, and South Salt Lake has it," Miller said.

Barring any legislative changes, the Millcreek Township will be gone in 2010.

So before then, residents must decide whether they want to start their city, join another, or remain unincorporated and continue to get their municipal services from Salt Lake County.

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.

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 its current level of municipal services, according to a recent study for the county.

Cullimore's pitch for local control and identity swayed Ruth MacAngus.

"When you are able to make your own decisions, all options are open to you," Cullimore said of incorporating Millcreek into its own city.

"I can't see any reason not to," MacAngus said, even if that meant higher taxes. "If we don't, all the other cities are going to annex and we'd end up a little hodge-podged area."

If Diane Angus had her wish, the Legislature would create a way for the township boundaries to remain indefinitely. If not, she said Millcreek should start its own city.

"We should keep our borders solidified," said Angus, who serves on the Millcreek Community Council. "We made a good township, and we could make a good city."

And although all the salesman said Millcreek's future should ultimately be left up to the residents of the township, the Legislature will have the final say.

A survey should be in the mail in the next few weeks, where township residents can recommend what type of government they want.


E-mail: ldethman@desnews.com