ST. GEORGE — The Utah League of Cities and Towns installed St. George Mayor Jon Pike as its president for the 2018-19 year during its annual conference last week.
“It’s a great opportunity because I get to be helping, not only on behalf of our city, but all of Southern Utah and the whole state as it relates to government and local government which is near and dear to my heart,” Pike said Monday.
The Utah League of Cities and Towns represents the collective interests of 247 municipalities across the Utah as it relates to state and federal government.
Pike said being the league’s president gives him more opportunity to work closely with the Legislature and the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices, especially when the Legislature is in session.
The league has often lobbied Utah lawmakers on behalf of various positions held by its members, particularly as they pertain to issues of land-use authority, zoning, the licensing and other issues, he said.
An example of the league and St. George working together took place during the 2017 legislative session as they sought to influence lawmakers concerning a proposed law that would have eliminated a municipality’s ability to regulate short-term rentals. While a form of the bill passed, the primary provision restricting municipalities on regulating short-term rentals was removed.
During last week’s annual conference, the league passed a resolution outlining its concerns over Proposition 2, a ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana in the Utah. While the league stopped short of opposing the measure, it said it has issues with potential conflicts connected to a city’s ability to regulate where medical marijuana facilities could go and how passage of the proposition may impact law enforcement efforts.
“I personally support the furthering the use of medical marijuana,” Pike said, though he added that he will vote against Proposition 2.
Pike said he does favor a statewide law permitting and regulating medical marijuana use, as well as some limit to how far a city or county can regulate medical marijuana-related issues.
“I don’t think cities and counties should necessarily be able to say ‘We don’t want it sold here,'” he said. “All the more important to make sure how it is prescribed and sold is absolutely safe and well regulated.”
Other resolutions presented at the annual conference related to a municipality’s authority over water rights and water supply, support for increasing the state’s gas tax for transportation funding, as well as ways to address the state’s continuing population growth and the challenges that brings.
“It’s a great and important opportunity to work with our state leaders and even federal officials to try and make sure the issues that are important at the local level make it to those other levels so that we can remind them of what we work with every day,” Pike said.
According to the league’s website, it also “provides information, training and technical assistance to local officials on municipal issues, and works to create a greater public awareness and understanding of municipal responsibilities, governance and administration.”
Pike will serve as the president for a year. At the conclusion of his term he will continue to serve on the league’s executive board as the past president for a year after that.
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