votes to adopt new city government form
January 29, 2009 | SMITHFIELD -- The Smithfield City
Council decided to establish a new six-member council
sometime in the near future, at Wednesday's meeting.
The council voted 4-0 in favor of adopting the new
form of government. Councilman William "Dee" Wood abstained
from voting because he was absent during the presentation
of the various options of government.
The Citizen Committee gave a PowerPoint presentation
at the meeting where they strongly recommended the six-member
council be adopted.
Smithfield had three options to choose from for their
new government setup. The Utah Senate passed S.B. 20
on May 5, 2008, which would allow cities in Utah to
have a five member council, six member council or a
council-mayor form of government.
In the new government, the mayor is part of the council
and is the chairperson. The mayor doesn't vote except
in the case of a tie. The mayor is also the chief executive
officer and is responsible for administration of the
The five-member council is basically the same as the
six-member council but with a few slight differences,
with the main difference being how many members are
in the council, said Barbara Kent of the Citizen Committee.
The council-mayor form of government is usually used
in bigger cities like Salt Lake and Ogden. In this system
the mayor and the county attorney work full time in
these positions and are paid by the city said Kent.
Smithfield would have to raise taxes on local businesses
and citizens in order to pay the mayor and county attorney's
salaries, said Citizen Committee member Kent Ward.
Ward stressed how expensive it is to have a full time
mayor and that Smithfield doesn't have the population
or the budget to do so.
Smithfield currently uses a city manager form of government
and the time of the change is not known with specifics,
said Mayor Chad Downs.
"I think that's the direction I'm gonna move the city
in," said Downs. "I'm not gonna establish a time line
but it's not gonna linger forever."
Janice Mikkelsen of the Citizen Committee urged the
council to have good communication with the community,
saying it would bring unity to the city.
Mikkelsen also said the council should inform citizens
of the city's Web address in the newsletter. "This really
helps the city government communicate with the citizens."
Jeff Gittins, a resident of Smithfield, said that
he likes the idea of the new government set up. "I have
no problem with the six-member council. I think that's
He also said that over time many powers have gone
to the city manager and that he thinks the council should
make sure those powers are redistributed to the mayor.
The citizens of Smithfield wanted the council to look
at the possibility of forming a six member council,
said Councilman Dennis Watkins. Watkins also said that
he believes the six member council is the best of the
choices for Smithfield.
"I think the conclusion that was drawn was the wisest
one," said Watkins.
Various members of the Citizen Committee and the city
council mentioned multiple times that the new council
will give increased flexibility to its members.