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County Government History

Salt Lake County Archives preserves and provides access to the historical records of county government. Some of the most requested records are listed below. Please contact the Archives for more information.  


Agency Publications

1921-2007 (bulk 1960-1999)

Publications created by Salt Lake County agencies, departments, or programs. Publications include annual reports, studies, budget reports, and histories of agencies and programs.

Annual Reports

This series contains reports of activities of Salt Lake County agencies from the previous year. Contact the Archivist for reports for specific County agencies.

Change of Form of Government

A citizen's advisory committee proposed that Salt Lake County separate the executive and legislative powers of Salt Lake County by adopting a new form of government. 

A citizen's advisory committee proposed that Salt Lake County separate the executive and legislative powers of Salt Lake County by adopting a new form of government. Previously, Salt Lake County operated under the management of a three-member County Commission, which performed all functions for the County. The new form of government would replace the three at-large county commissioners with an at-large county executive (mayor) and a nine-member council. The citizens of Salt Lake County voted on and passed this new form of government, and the change became effective on January 1, 2001.

The proposed optional plan of county government, of the kind described as the County Executive-Council management arrangement, is represented here in a final form, including a map of the proposed council districts, a list of the voting districts within each council district (at the time of the document), and a legal description of each council district.  

Commission Minutes, 1852-2000

Official minutes of the Salt Lake County Commission, from 1852 to 2000, when the form of government changed from commission to mayor/council.  

Prior to the current mayor/council form of government, the Salt Lake County Commission served as the governing body that organized and maintained county services and that managed all county business and property. Minutes were kept by the Salt Lake County Clerk and include both summaries of topics discussed during the meetings and a listing of all orders and decisions made by the board.

Salt Lake County Archives maintains all of the Salt Lake County Commission Minutes from its first meeting in 1852 to its dissolution at the end of 2000. The change in form of government from a commission to a mayor and council system began in 2001. 


 Indexes are available to facilitate research in the Commission Minutes. Topics were indexed using business names, surnames, county agency names, subjects, or types of proceedings (agreements, resolutions, etc.).  

Salt Lake County Commission Minutes from 1852 - 1972 are available online.

Territorial years, 1852-1896: The predominant activities discussed in the minutes involved the laying out of roads and irrigation canals; the creation and supervision of election and school districts; providing for the poor and the insane; and locating sites for the erection of public buildings. They also levied property taxes, paid bills and wages, and supervised the operation of county government. Appointment of officials and issues regarding personnel hiring, salary, and retention decisions are also recorded in the Minutes. After 1884 they were responsible for issuing business licenses, including franchises for utilities and transit systems. Provision was also made that year for them to approve the incorporation of towns.

Twentieth Century: The development of water and sewage systems, the coordination of police and fire protection, the supervision of private contractors and their work on county projects and housing subdivisions, and the provision of a wide variety of other social services. After 1941 zoning issues also became an important topic in the minutes.

For more information about the Commission Minutes, 1852-1972, the Utah State Archives created a detailed and very thorough descriptive guide about this record series.


Elected Lists

Elected Officials Records

The Salt Lake County Archives maintains the official administrative records of many of the past elected officials that served the county. The guides listed below are examples of some of the records that the Archives holds; many more administrative records for additional elected officials are also available (especially commissioners).  Please contact us for more information.