Council Approves 2016-17 City Budget
At their June 14 meeting, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously approved a General Fund budget of $261 million that, even with flat revenues, makes progress in the Council’s key priority areas. The budget was approved by a vote of 5-0, with two Council Members with excused absences.
For six weeks, Council Members reviewed, debated and proposed changes to Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s recommended budget. The Council received feedback from residents, business owners and taxpayers at public hearings and via email, letters, phone calls and in-person discussions.
Highlights of the approved budget:
- Approved $605,000 for services related to addressing homelessness and improving quality of life for residents and businesses in the Pioneer Park/Rio Grande area.
- Of this, $200,000 was added for a pilot project to purchase and operate portable bathrooms to help address public health issues. The funds are contingent on securing $75,000 in matching funds from private sources.
- The remaining $405,000 was reprogrammed from a previously approved, but unused, allocation and will be used for increased police officer foot patrol in the Rio Grande neighborhood, a pilot project with Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services, 500 West mitigation, increased capacity for “A Place for Your Stuff”, enhanced day services for people experiencing homelessness, and expanding Clean Team operations around Rio Grande and 500 West downtown.
- Added support for training of Police Department officers who work with victims of sexual assault.
- Continued funding for a forensic scientist position to ensure prompt processing of rape kits.
- Added funding to increase the rate of replacing dead trees as ongoing care for the urban forest.
- Ensured funding of a critical bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure to allow safe crossings at the 600 North/800 West intersection which is adjacent to the Interstate 15 off-ramp.
- Added $300,000 for a process to determine the level of public interest for a potential bond to fund open space, recreation, and other items.
- Funded 10 dispatcher positions in the 911 Communications Bureau to reduce wait times for 911 emergency calls.
- Approved $7.75 million in previously unspent one-time state funds for road improvements, including $4 million for work on 500 South and 700 South in the City’s light-industrial/ warehouse district.
- Added $200,000 to complete the installation of artwork at the Sego Lily Sugar House Park tunnel project, contingent on $400,000 in matching private funds.
The overall approved City budget for FY 2016-17 is $1 billion, but most of that spending is related to the ongoing reconstruction of the Salt Lake City International Airport, which is funded by sources other than general tax revenues. Basic City services are largely funded by property taxes, sales taxes, utility fees, permits, fines and a variety of other sources.
As part of the Budget process, the Council also:
- Approved a 1.25 percent cost-of-living increase in salaries for all City employees.
- Created two new departments: Economic Development and Sustainability
- Approved the proposed reorganization of the Police Department that moves more officers into Patrol, restores the position of Assistant Chief and expands the rank of Captain.
- Decided against increased parking enforcement on Sundays.
- Adjusted property tax revenue, based on final information from Salt Lake County, resulting in nearly $1 million more in “new growth” revenue and $111,000 in judgment levy revenue.
- Reorganized the City’s enhanced streetlight program, so services are paid for by a monthly fee rather than a special assessment. This fee applies only to those residents and businesses in areas with enhanced streetlight services.
- Requested the Mayor and her Administration:
- Have Department Directors provide mid-year briefings to the Council.
- Provide mid-year reports to the Council about funding maintenance needs for City facilities, parks and other open spaces.
- Provide the Council with reports on Golf Fund revenues and key metrics plus a review of the viability of reopening Wingpointe Golf Course
- Provide the Council with reports on the effectiveness of the City’s move to private towing and impound services.
- Provide a report to the Council on the Police Research Forum’s analysis of how the Police Department responds to sexual violence incidents.
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