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MILLCREEK — Voters in Millcreek Township rejected a ballot question Tuesday to incorporate four communities into Millcreek City.
The question failed 40 percent to 60 percent, according to final but unofficial Salt Lake County election results.
The question's defeat means the area will continue to operate as a township and the Salt Lake County Council will remain the area's primary municipal government.
"We think it was good night for the people of Millcreek Township," said Roger Dudley, who led the movement to defeat the question. "I think people in Millcreek, we like our independence. We don't need a stifling layer of new government."
The vote also reflected that most people in the township are pleased with the municipal services they receive from Salt Lake County, he said.
Dudley said he thought it was particularly interesting that Tuesday's election results mirrored a 2008 Dan Jones and Associates public opinion poll on the incorporation question.
If lawn signs were any indication, the question pitted neighbor against neighbor.
Jeff Silvestrini of the Future of Millcreek Association, which backed the movement to create Millcreek City, said he hopes residents of the township will close ranks moving forward.
"We were neighbors before this and we continue to be neighbors with good intentions to make Millcreek a better place," said Silvestrini, longtime Mount Olympus Community Council chairman.
Dudley said the next step needs to be strengthening community councils and further bolstering the township boundaries through legislation.
Silvestrini said the "incorporators" faced a significant challenge convincing "people to move from the status quo to something that's unknown."
Backers said the township needed to become a city to better control planning and zoning matters and to keep fees and taxes in check.
"In some ways it's gratifying that we got four in 10 people to vote for it," Silvestrini said. "There's obviously a significant number of people not happy with the status quo."
Opponents said establishing a city was unnecessary because Salt Lake County has done a good job providing municipal services and another layer of government was duplicative and expensive.
William Johnson, a longtime Millcreek resident who spent $455 of his own money to buy an advertisement in the Millcreek Journal opposing incorporation, said he was "very happy" by the outcome of the election.
"I just think the county has served us very well," Johnson said. "All the folks I talked to seemed to be against it. I could never figure out where this movement came from."
"So yeah, I'm happy. I wish I could get my money back (for the ad) though," he said.
After the long campaign, Johnson said, "I hope they'll let it rest for a good long time."
Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon said Tuesday he will support the will of Millcreek voters. The county will work hard to address service needs of the township and to ensure residents are well represented.
"We recognize certain citizens would like to see incorporation. At the end of the day, hopefully everyone will come together and stay strong as a community," he said.
Millcreek Township borders Murray, South Salt Lake, Holladay, Taylorsville and a small portion of West Valley City. The area is also represented by elected community councils. The township includes the Canyon Rim, East Millcreek, Millcreek and Olympus Cove communities.