Agency History #97


In 1964 Burton Nichols built a ski resort near Brian Head Peak of the Markagunt Plateau in eastern Iron County. It included a T-bar, chairlift, and warming hut. In the 1970s the resort was expanded to include two lift areas, and in March 1975 the resort became an incorporated community. Municipal government has provided public services for residents and resort guests, as well as oversight for ongoing development, and promotion for Brian Head as a regional recreation center. Recreation is the base of Brian Head's economy, and includes skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling in the winter and spring, and backpacking, mountain biking, and hiking in the summer and fall. In 1990 Brian Head had a permanent population of 109 and a transient guest population of about 5,000.


Immediately after incorporation Brian Head municipal government became highly involved in providing public services and promoting development. In the 1970s the town purchased and expanded the Brian Head Corporation Water System, built a water storage tank and installed water meters. Other improvements of the 1970s and 1980s included paving streets, and installing sewer mains and laterals, water mains and laterals, fire hydrants, underground power lines, and street lights. The Brian Head town council has provided the community with police and fire protection. The town council has shouldered an ongoing responsibility for garbage pickup, snow removal, and for operating resort shuttle buses. Since Brian Head is a mountain resort, municipal government has had an ongoing interest in land management issues both in the community and the surrounding area.

Since incorporation the Brian Head town council has been involved in promoting the resort. The town council has assumed responsibility for maintaining signs advertising the resort, including freeway billboards. The town council has sponsored booths at ski shows and worked with the Utah Travel Council to promote tourism in southern Utah. The town council has worked closely with Brian Head Enterprises in sponsoring recreational events and activities, including summer entertainment packages, spring carnivals, dog sled races, etc. The council has worked closely with the planning commission to approve private development projects and has also been involved in the development of roads, hiking trails, snowmobile and ATV trails, as well as in the development of snow making capabilities. The town council adopted a master plan in 1979 and has repeatedly revised it. This plan is a guide for making land use and management decisions. It states that the community's overall objective is to "refine the overall pattern of land uses, such that the resulting town form takes advantage of Brian Head's unique setting, creates an attractive and livable community, preserves and enhances the alpine recreation experience and allows Brian Head to compete successfully within the regional resort marketplace (Brian Head Master Plan, Planning commission minutes, Utah State Archives, series 23791)."


Brian Head originally established a traditional form of municipal government but later changed to the council/manager form. Traditional governments are presided over by a mayor and four city council members who are elected officials, and who appoint and supervise all other city officers. The city council functions as a legislative and executive governing body and is responsible for all aspects of community management, such as appointing officials and setting their salaries, levying taxes, establishing a budget, maintaining public services and utilities, and regulating activity within the community.

In 1978 the Brian Head town council began hiring a town manager and in 1988 Brian Head residents officially adopted the council/manager form of government as authorized by Utah law (see Utah Code, 1977, 10-3-924). When the issue was put up for election, Brian Head voters chose to adopt the council/manager form of government effective 1 January 1989. The respective responsibilities of the town manager and the mayor were outlined by ordinance (see Brian Head ordinance 88-003). The Brian Head mayor's responsibilities include presiding at town council meetings, signing all official documents, being the chief ceremonial officer, representing the town to the outside world, and performing marriages. The manager's responsibilities include enforcing laws and regulations within the city; carrying out policies and programs established by the council; directing the management of executive affairs in the municipality; appointing a budget officer, town treasurer, town clerk, and creating and appointing other offices as needed; submitting plans to the council; and attending all council meetings to participate in the discussion. In 1999 the council/manager form of government was reconsidered in public election and Brian Head voters chose to make no change in their municipal government.


Immediately after incorporation in 1975 the Brian Head town council appointed a town clerk, a town attorney, a recorder, a justice of the peace and a town marshal. They organized a volunteer fire department and appointed a fire chief. Two years later (1977) the town council expanded municipal government by appointing a board of directors to manage a municipal water company, and by appointing a planning commission to make and carry out zoning regulations and a board of adjustments and to review variances and exceptions to the same. In 1978 the town council began hiring a town manager. In 1981 the council created a special improvement district and appointed a board of equalization and review to assist in carrying out improvements to streets, water and sewer systems. In 1987 the council appointed an engineer and also created a director of streets and public improvements.

Rex Emenegger Oct 1975-Dec 1985
Michael G. Golden Jan 1986-Apr 1988
H.C. Deutschlander May 1988-Dec 1993
Steve Griffin Jan 1994-Dec 1997
H.C. Deutschlander Jan 1998-

COMPILED BY: Rosemary Cundiff, May 2002


Brian Head (Utah). Council minutes, Utah State Archives (Series 23790).

Brian Head (Utah). Planning commission minutes, Utah State Archives (Series 23791).

Seegmiller, Janet Burton, A History of Iron County. Utah State Historical Society; Iron County Commission (Salt Lake City: 1998).

Page Last Updated July 2, 2003.