Grand County has filed a motion for preliminary and permanent injunction for declaratory relief in the matter of the Green River annexation of the Grand County portion of Green River into Emery County. Grand County is asking that the court declare the pending annexation to be void and unconstitutional.
Grand County is basing their motion on a joint resolution which amended Article XI of the Utah Constitution this past legislative session. This amendment made it clear that no annexation can take place without a majority vote from both the annexing county and the county losing territory. This amendment was submitted to the voters of Utah and passed by a wide majority on Nov. 5. This amendment becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2003.
In September of this year, Governor Leavitt issued a proclamation declaring that the Green River annexation would become effective on Jan. 6, 2003. Grand County believes that no such annexation can take place after Jan. 1, 2003 because it would then be in clear violation of the amended Article XI.
Senator Carlene Walker, sponsor of the joint resolution amending Article XI, has now submitted a revision of 17-2-6 deleting in its entirety all of 17-2-6-(2) as being unconstitutional and requiring that as of Jan. 1, 2002, no annexation from one county to another may take place unless a majority of voters of both counties concur on the annexation.
Grand County reasons that the proposed Jan. 6 annexation should be ruled as unconstitutional and void.
Emery County Officials responded to the latest Grand County move with Representative Brad Johnson introducing legislation at the special session of the Utah Legislature to have the governor sign a proclamation which would declare the annexation to take effect on Jan. 1, 2003 instead of the Jan. 6, 2003 date now specified in the original proclamation.
Commissioner Drew Sitterud stated that on Dec. 18 the bill had passed the House with only two negative votes and also passed the Senate.
Commissioner Sitterud said that it is customary for state business to begin on the first Monday of a new year which was why the original proclamation specified this date. With the change to Jan. 1, 2003 as the effective date of the annexation, problems with sales tax on properties and other issues will be avoided.
Commissioner Sitterud also stated that just because there is a new law taking effect on Jan. 1, 2003, it does not make decisions made under the old law invalid.
If this were the case then criminals could come back and request new proceedings with each new law that was passed pertaining to their particular case.
Local officials believe a proclamation from the governor will be forthcoming before the end of the year with the date for the annexation effective date changing from Jan. 6, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2003.