Under the leadership of mayors Dan Barlow of Colorado City and David Zitting of Hildale, the area has enjoyed economic growth and positive interaction with the outside world. A new airport, a manufacturing plant, a convenience store, and a restaurant all suggest economic vitality.
After the death of Leroy Johnson in 1986, an internal conflict among fundamentalists spilled over into a bitter federal-court battle. A minority group of plaintiffs has contended that the United Effort Plan trust was a business venture from which they could withdraw, taking their contributions as well as title to real property that they had occupied but which had been deeded to the trust. The much larger majority defendant group contends that the UEP was a voluntary charitable organization advancing the religious community, which means the past contributions were gifts and need not be refunded. This has divided the community and families and led to creation of a splinter group that calls itself the "Second Ward." The dispute has more to do with legitimate religious authority than it does with polygamy. A final decision was hailed by both sides as a victory; it allowed the trust to evict the splinter group but not without compensating those who were put out.