PROVO, Utah — Utah County commissioners have claimed greater control of the county’s $100 million budget with a swift maneuver that high-ranking state officials have decried as a power grab that wipes away important checks and balances on government spending.
The proposal — which stripped budget oversight away from the independently elected county clerk/auditor and shifted it to the commission instead — passed 2-0 during a Wednesday meeting after commissioners explained they wanted a more direct pipeline for information about the county’s financial future.
But the significance of the change and its last-minute appearance at the bottom of a 32-item agenda brought down condemnation from employees in the county auditor/clerks office and from officials including Lt. Gov Deidre Henderson. In a Facebook post alerting county residents about the upcoming decision, Henderson wrote that the suggested change “further consolidates the power of the county commission,” which has shrunk to just two people with the recent departure of former Commissioner Tanner Ainge.
“This should be extremely concerning to everyone,” Henderson, a resident of Spanish Fork, wrote. “In practicality, this means that essentially TWO people will be in charge of PROPOSING, VOTING ON, and EXECUTING a half a billion dollar budget! That’s insane, and completely out of alignment with principles of good government.”
Click here to read the full report from The Salt Lake Tribune.