FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 31, 2018
Contact: Dan Weist or Molly Farmer, Council Communication
Commitment continues to bolster public safety, affordable housing, homeless services
In their annual planning retreat Tuesday, Salt Lake City Council Members identified areas of focus for the coming year.
Council Members agreed that 1) facilitating the development of the Northwest Quadrant, 2) funding implementation of the City’s recently-adopted Transit Master Plan, and 3) securing sustainable funding for street maintenance are top priorities, based on the immediate work and focus these items will require.
In addition, the Council renewed its commitment to long-standing priorities of increased funding for public safety, affordable housing, development of new homeless resource centers, and air quality, due to the impact these issues have on the community and unique opportunities for partnership with the State and County.
“Salt Lake City’s future is bright,” said Council Chair Erin Mendenhall. “My Council colleagues and I, working with the Mayor, are optimistic about making progress this year on key issues that will improve quality of life for all City residents, and for those who live in other communities but work, learn and play in the Capital City.”
These priorities reflect Salt Lake City’s many needs. It is a growing City, and has a population expected to dramatically increase in the coming years. With that growth comes the requirement to provide and maintain basic infrastructure and City services to support a well-functioning Capital City.
“Increased transit options, properly maintained roads and a growing economy – as well as improved public safety and more housing options – are all vital to building a better Salt Lake City for everyone,” Mendenhall said. “Providing these things, though, is a challenge we need to address head on.
City Council’s Focus Areas for 2018
- Northwest Quadrant Development – Salt Lake City takes its stewardship of the Northwest Quadrant seriously; incredible growth and opportunity are ripe in this region of Salt Lake City. It represents the last large area of land for development, and the City and property owners are primed to maximize all opportunities for economic development and infrastructure.
- Transit Master Plan Implementation – Last year, the City finalized a Master Plan guiding the future of transit in Salt Lake City. This issue directly impacts connectivity to affordable housing, economic development, air quality and overall quality of life for all residents and visitors. The Plan was the first step, and the Council is ready to capitalize on the plan by immediately focusing on the implementation strategies and funding needed.
- Curb-to-Curb Street Maintenance – For years, the City has received public feedback about the condition of streets. Bolstered by the recent pavement condition survey, it is time to address the true need for street projects. These projects require coordination of each part of the street: curb & gutter, street surface and the utilities underneath – these need more proactive funding and a robust construction schedule.
- Public Safety Funding – After the Council added 50 new officers and social worker resources to the Police Department last year, it’s time for ongoing funding discussions about supporting our public safety personnel and meeting the public’s expectations. This is a continuing priority in response to neighborhood concerns about public safety, increased devotion to homelessness and Operation Rio Grande, and the City’s ever-increasing daytime population.
- Affordable Housing – 2017 was a hallmark year for affordable housing with an unprecedented amount of new funding dedicated and the adoption of the Growing Salt Lake Housing Plan. In 2018, the Council wants to build on that momentum by considering ongoing funding opportunities and how to partner with developers and others making progress addressing the affordable housing needs of residents throughout our County and State.
- Homelessness, including Homeless Resource Center development – Construction will be underway this year, and with that comes broader conversations about the operations of the Centers and impacts to surrounding neighborhoods, and how to balance the needs of everyone in our City.
- Air Quality – The focus on developing meaningful jobs in the Northwest Quadrant and on public transit is another step for a point in Salt Lake City’s future where air quality is improved by having a relatively compact area where thousands of jobs are accessible to people who don’t have to drive alone for long distances to earn a living.
- Overall Budget Health of the City -A core function of the City Council is passing a balanced annual budget reflecting the City’s core values. Success for each of the above priorities depends in part on a healthy, sustainable City budget.