Still More Questions Than Answers in Sunnyside-East Carbon Consolidation*Video and Image Gallery*

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Emotions continue to run high when it comes to what Sunnyside and East Carbon need to do about consolidating the two cities. One certainty is that voters will decide the issue this November.

On Tuesday, Sunnyside City Councilmen approved Resolution R6-2013 which states their intention and desire to form a consolidated municipality with the city of East Carbon. In the joint emergency work meeting with East Carbon immediately following the regular city council meeting, East Carbon Mayor Orlando LaFontaine said that his city council will call a special meeting to pass a similar resolution as soon as possible.

The purpose of the resolution is to put it on the November ballot. The request will be sent to Lt. Governor Greg Bell. Each city will be given access to each other’s financial books, debts, assets and any other material relevant to consolidation.

The decision to move forward with a resolution allows both cities more time to gather facts and find answers to questions that need to be answered. Sunnyside felt it was a better option than a petition, which would force the city to complete everything in 45 days.

The night began with a public hearing at 6:00. A full house of both Sunnyside and East Carbon residents initiated some lively and passionate statements. Most of those who spoke out were residents of Sunnyside. They did not embrace the merge, but asked pointed questions about costs and benefits should the two cities become one. Many inquiries concerned potential taxes. There were also concerns over city jobs and if any would be let go.

Mayor LaFontaine and Sunnyside Mayor Doug Parsons engaged in a heated exchange concerning what had brought the two cities to this point. Both agreed that the best thing is to lay out the facts and let the voters decide.

The name of the joined city could possibly remain Sunnyside. Many, including Mayor LaFontaine, said they would rather go with Sunnyside over East Carbon if they were choosing one or the other.

The issue of debt from each city is a major concern. East Carbon City Attorney Jeremy Humes said any debt would be shared unless it was acquired to benefit one municipality or the other. An example of that is a water line that delivers water to only East Carbon residents and has its own bond debt.

Residents wishing to have a say in the matter must be registered to vote in the November election.

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