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Proposition 9 defeated, Utah County votes to keep commissioner system

Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 20:22:23-05

UTAH CO., Utah — By midnight last night, the contentious issue of proposition 9, which deals with the county's governmental structure, was decided.

113,217 or 59.29% Voted NO on Proposition 9 and 77,727 or 40.71% voted YES, so the initiative was defeated by a healthy margin.

The defeat assures Utah County's political structure of a commissioner system will stand and the “Mayor/Council” system being proposed will not come to fruition, at least for this election cycle.

For a more in-depth break down of what the proposition would do click here for our previous coverage.

Current Utah County Commissioner Bill Lee is glad that the commissioner system is sticking around.

“It has given us a place where people want to come and live…businesses are flocking here to this area…two universities that are thriving,” Lee says, “so if we're doing such a good job with it…why do we want to monkey around with it and do something different with it."

Lee among others who fought against the proposition had several problems with the proposal including the following:

1) There wasn’t enough public input

2) No fiscal impact study was ever done on the change

3) Splitting up representation would have created cliques and rivalries between different areas of the county.

4) The Mayor was too powerful with the ability to Veto and line item veto a budget.

In the past Commissioner Lee has proposed a five commissioner system with no mayor and with commissioners elected “at large” but overall he was relieved proposition nine didn’t pass.

“It is important for us to bring the people along with us especially when we are changing to form of government for over 620,000 people” Lee says “We have got to have more dialogue… more conversation.”

No one from the “Yes” on Prop 9 side of the argument was able to speak with FOX13 on Thursday but we did receive a statement saying:

While we are disappointed that Prop 9 didn't pass, we appreciate the opportunity we had as citizens to discuss the future of Utah County and the need to prepare for the growth that is coming. It has taken many years to get this on the ballot and we appreciate those who advocated for it as it helped start important conversations. While we may disagree on the best course of action, as Utah County citizens we all want good things for our county.

Jenney Rees, Mayor of Cedar Hills, spoke with us in the past on the topic of Prop 9 and took issue with the current commissioner system.

“We’ve lost a form of government that provides for the various regions of our county,” she said the week before the election. “It takes 2 people in a county of 650-thousand people to pass policy and that includes things like mandates or tax increases or policy that affects our county overall.”

Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge was also a large advocate for Prop 9’s passing, Posting a tweet thread Wednesday that said in part “Prop 9 didn’t pass. That’s ok. It’s a privilege to live in America and vote for candidates/issues we care about in free and fair elections.”

But for Commissioner Bill Lee this is an opportunity to say while this didn’t work out in everyone's favor, he is hoping it will encourage a new sense of cooperation for everyone within the boundaries of the current Utah County Government system.

“I know the sting of defeat is always tough… its a natural reaction when you put that kind of effort into it” He said “but I would hope with this and say this is what we have… make it work… and let's find solutions and continuing in a very positive direction.”