Uintah County issued a press release on Wednesday providing additional information on the topic of slumping mineral lease funds that support the county’s 6 Special Service Districts. “We are not panicked but we are preparing with a sense of urgency for the future of the districts,” shares Uintah County Commission Chairman Bill Stringer. “It is just prudent to study the alternatives and take action as soon as possible, instead of waiting for something to fall apart.” The six Special Service Districts in Uintah County are the Animal Control and Shelter Special Service District, the Fire Suppression Special Service District, the Impact Mitigation Special Service District, the Recreation Special Service District, the Transportation Special Service District and the Healthcare Special Service District. The county commission allocates mineral lease money to each of the Special Service Districts but retains no control over how those funds are spent, explains Uintah County. Instead, each district has a board to make those decisions. “The county took the tax burden off city and county residents when these districts were created,” explains Stringer. “These are still county functions – fire protection, animal control, road construction and maintenance, public health – and we’re not getting rid of them. The county is going to have to provide these services if the districts cannot.” Commissioner Bart Haslem has been working with the districts and notes that the 6 districts combined are $33 million dollars in debt. If the decline in mineral lease payments continue, they may not have enough money in the near future to make their debt payments. “This is an immediate issue that needs to be addressed,” says Haslem. “We have to act.” The approval of a temporary budget officer is among the steps being taken to help the county create a plan moving forward.