I have become aware of a bill that will be discussed during the upcoming state legislative session. The bill is titled "MUNICIPAL ENTITIES AND CABLE OR TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES." This bill in its current form would cause some major hurtles for any city that wanted to join UTOPIA. It was supposed to be discussed in the Government Competition and Privatization Subcommittee interim meeting yesterday. The committee decided to "have staff work on modifying this bill so that it is more acceptable to all parties involved." They also said that they will discuss it again during the legislative session.
The major issue that I see with this proposed bill as it's currently written is that it takes decision making powers away from our local elected officials. It says that a municipality must hold two public hearings, instead of the one currently required. It also says that the city must hold an election to let the voters decide on whether to join the entity. Currently, the law says that a council may hold an election.
The changes to the bill also place limits on cities joining a municipal entity such as UTOPIA. Any city that has not joined UTOPIA by May 5, 2008, will have to pay for the state auditor to issue an audit report of UTOPIA stating that UTOPIA has had a positive net operating income for at least one year, among other things.
I have two major questions about the changes to this bill.
1) How would our City Council members feel if similar restrictions had been placed on the formation of the South Davis Recreation District? (I've already mentioned in a previous post, that the South Davis Recreation Center competes with private industry.)
2) How would our State Legislature feel if our national government leaders placed similar restrictions on their actions?