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South Jordan Journal

Cities Benefit From Membership in Utah League of Cities and Towns

Oct 07, 2015 09:58AM ● By Bryan Scott

By James Luke

Of the 243 cities and municipalities in Utah, 13 are newly created since 1996. Regardless whether a city has a decade or less of experience in the business of municipal governance, though, like Cottonwood Heights, created by vote in 2005, or whether it traces its history back to the mid-19th century, as do many cities in the area, the Utah League of Cities and Towns is available to offer assistance and advice on the challenging process of running a city.

Formed in 1907, the ULCT represents the cities (municipalities with a population over 1,000) and towns (those under 1,000) of Utah with advice on state and federal concerns as well as sage guidance on all sorts of municipal issues. Whether the question is about how to draft a local resolution or the best way to handle a city tax question, ULCT has experts on the board and among its membership to offer invaluable guidance.

The ULCT is not a governmental agency, but is governed by an inter-local agreement among the cities and towns that participate. The organization does not take a position in favor of any political party.

The 18-member ULCT board consists of local officials from municipalities of all sizes and types throughout the state. Board members are elected in September at the group’s annual convention. The board also determines the yearly budget and goals for the ULCT at the convention.

Duties of board members run the gamut of tasks typical of a large organization. Beginning with attendance and participation in meetings of the ULCT, those on the board have assignments to attend various committees or meetings of other groups that have an interest in the organization. 

Board members also have responsibilities to maintain contact with representatives of the member cities and towns, and to provide guidance to the local government as needed. Committees of the ULCT track the legislative activity of the Utah legislature and Congress in Washington, D.C. to stay abreast of developments in the law that impact municipalities.

In recent years, battles over billboards have played out in major Utah cities. Local governments have made efforts to regulate new developments in outdoor advertising such as video screens, while the companies that own the billboards and real estate on which they sit assert their property rights to use their land and billboards as they choose without municipal interference. Both groups have gone to the state legislature to clarify issues of regulating advertising on city streets. 

The ULCT drafted a resolution with the stated intent to recognize, at the state level, “the primacy of local governments to handle the land use issues associated with billboards through local ordinance and policy.” While the billboard issue continues to be addressed by state and local authorities, the ULCT uses its expertise and influence to assist its member local governments to retain control of local issues.