Questions are being asked in light of the Fire District Board making the
that it is illegal for them to take payment for their services, since
they are also
taking payments for being elected officials.
persist such as: Does the law apply to other boards and districts
over the years have been collecting payments for meeting
Here is the law as it appears in Utah State Code Annotated 17B-1-308;
17B-1-308. Boards of trustees comprised of county or municipal legislative body members.
(1) If a county or municipal legislative body by statute also serves as the board of trustees of a local district:
(a) the board of trustees shall hold district meetings and keep district minutes, accounts, and other records separate from those of the county or municipality;
(b) subject to Subsection (2), the board of trustees may use, respectively, existing county or municipal facilities and personnel for district purposes;
(c) notwithstanding Subsections 17B-1-303(1) and (2), the term of office of each board of trustees member coincides with the member's term as a county or municipal legislative body member;
(d) each board of trustees member represents the district at large; and
(e) board members may not receive compensation for their service as board members in addition to compensation they receive as members of a county or municipal legislative body.
(2) The county or municipal legislative body, as the case may be, shall charge the local district, and the local district shall pay to the county or municipality, a reasonable amount for:
(a) the county or municipal facilities that the district uses; and
(b) except for services rendered by the county or municipal legislative body members, the services that the county or municipality renders to the local district.
As outlined in the various codes, a district may be a special service district;
be an area to provide a service or to consolidate certain services.
What boards should this law have application to? Reasonable people
reading the law and
following all the citations of boards, districts and
political subdivisions made in
State Code, could make a case that every
board, regardless, of name, should or could
come under the law found in
In Wasatch County, we have boards, very much like the State of
Utah, that use terms
such as: Director or Trustee. There are those who
would like to run from their duty as
elected officials, and hide under the
pretext, that in discussing districts in one
place in State of Utah Code, the
term “director” in their mind would be different than
the word “trustee” or
“trustees”. They are trying to make the case; the duties are
therefore, if the code says “trustees” and they call
the law would not apply to them.
A careful reading of the code of State of
Utah and a review of written opinions on the
subject, open the door to the
1. Director and Trustee are used interchangeable in
Utah Code. And although some
of the work as a “director” may be
somewhat different than work of a “trustee”, the
difference is usually found
in the difference of duties between non-profit businesses
or groups verses
Attorneys have written many articles on the subject of
director and trustee and
conclude there is no difference.
What boards should
come under this law? As it is now known, in Wasatch County there
number of boards, between 20 and 25 that elected officials are on. Some
some do not. The major ones that pay seem to center in the
1. Blue bench Land fill Board
2. Heber Power and Light
3. Heber Valley SSD (sewer district)
4. Jordanelle SSD
5. Wasatch Fire District
6. Wasatch Tourism and Economic Development
There may be more, but these seem to be the ones that pay the most.
Some seem to question the fact that Heber Light and Power appears on this
the rest seem to convey, they are special service districts. The
inclusion of Heber
Light and Power seems to be correct in light of the
They are a political subdivision as outlined in State Code.
cover a geographical area of Wasatch County and they mention in their own
documents they are a service provider and the service area does not include
County, so it would seem they are a “service district”.
ask as citizens of this County what should be done?
1. Should the money be returned with interest? The money involved in the last
six years exceeds $700,000.00.
2. Should those involved resign so new elections can be held?
3. Should legal action be taken, so there is combination of incarceration and re-
4. Should it be ignored, hoping it will all go away?
5. Should attorneys who have provided legal advice, be allowed to escape any
action? They were paid with rate payer money or tax money and should have known the
law and its application.
There will be those who fain ignorance of the law. Such ignorance is no
reasonable people, if they have any doubt of what they are
doing, find out.
The people deserve a resolution of the issues and are
entitled to an outcome that
would preclude anyone else taking money for
any service that is not allowed by law.
Perhaps, the public discussion needs
to center itself on the real principles of
morality, honesty, openness,
transparency and civic service and a little less on the
issues we have
allowed in the past.
(for those interested, citations of opinions and court cases as well as the State of Utah are available and were used in this article)