New SLC Budget Restores City Services, Amenities
SALT LAKE CITY – The SLC Council has approved a 2012-13 budget which restores City services and amenities in such areas as parks and street improvements. Many of the restored items have been on hold since the recession forced a series of budget reductions in recent years among municipalities nationwide. The restorations, focused around services direct to residents, businesses and visitors, are carved out of a tight budget to focus on the quality of life in Salt Lake City.
The Council on Tuesday night approved the annual budget, which begins in July. The $204.3 million budget funds the delivery of services from police, fire and parks. The process also includes approving funding for the airport, libraries and water services. The budgets are funded by the City's revenue sources such as property and sales taxes, and other fees. Final property tax numbers allowed the Council to add nearly $1 million to the original proposal presented to the Council earlier in the year by Mayor Ralph Becker.
“The budget process has allowed us to look at restoring services cut back in recent years,” said Council Chairman Søren Simonsen. “And although we weren’t able to restore all items, we did put money toward important City policies.”
Many residents have given their input to the City during the budget process, including presenting views at public hearings, writing comments for Open City Hall, the City’s online forum, or using other ways to let their opinions be known to public officials.
"This year, the council made an effort to better fund our city's infrastructure," said Council Vice Chair Charlie Luke. "With the direct increase to the Capital Improvement Program and the council’s new intent to put some of the anticipated sales tax increase toward capital projects, our streets, sidewalks, and large park projects will play a more prominent role when discussing next year’s funding of projects."
Some examples of the items the Council restored include:
- adding more than $800,000 to the Mayor’s budget for street, sidewalk and other improvements as part of the Capital Improvement Projects program
- adding $219,000 for City Parks, much of which will go to additional maintenance
- restoring to the final budget $110,000 for two enforcement officer positions that were slated to be cut, but will now be able to assist with the enforcement of housing and zoning issues
The items restored by the Council are consistent with focus areas that the Council has identified – namely: neighborhood quality of life, parks & open space, economic health of the City, arts & culture, sustainability, transportation & mobility, and education. The focus areas are part of a 2012 Council initiative that includes public input on creating linked vision statements for the future of the City.