City Council statement on veto override & June 21 meeting notes
Next steps for budget & tax proposal are 3 public hearings
City budget plan reaffirmed by Council focuses on SLC’s core services, restoring maintenance needs
A majority of the Salt Lake City Council has reaffirmed its support for an annual budget plan that focuses on core public services and restores overdue maintenance needs, such as street and curb repair.
The City Council on Friday, June 21, re-approved the Fiscal Year 2013-14 general fund budget, by a vote of 5-2 with Council Members Carlton Christensen and Stan Penfold voting against it. The vote overrides a budget veto delivered to the Council on June 19 by Mayor Becker.
The budget and a decision on a property tax increase will not be final until August after soliciting feedback, and the Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
The $200 million plus general fund budget, which begins July 1, is the operating budget for delivering services like police, fire, and parks and also includes the capital budget for major infrastructure projects. The budget is funded primarily by the City's ongoing general revenue sources such as property and sales taxes.
The Council first approved the budget and tax increase proposal with a 5-2 vote on June 18.
Due to the proposed property tax increase, some of the items restored in the budget include: adding $4.6 million for street, sidewalk, curb, gutter and many other improvements as part of the Capital Improvement Projects program. The final budget adds back the hiring of police officers, which the mayor had planned to delay until a later date. The Council also restored $350,000 in funding for the fire department that is contingent upon the money being used to restore a system using four-handed crews and maintaining service as has existed.
All in all, the Council focused in on the infrastructure and other budget needs of the City during the budget deliberations. The discussion covered a wide spectrum of items that could benefit from more funding. In the end, infrastructure, public safety, historic planning, and other core services won out.
Although most Council Members voiced at least some hesitancy at a property tax increase during their initial discussions, in the end a majority of Council Members decided to move ahead with a proposed property tax increase that would bring in 8 million dollars to help pay for the much-need improvements and maintenance schedule.
The tax increase pursued by the Council is subject to a Truth-in-Taxation hearing that is scheduled for Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 6:00 p.m., Room 315, City & County Building, 451 South State Street. In all, the Council will hold three public hearings within the next 50 days on the proposed tax increase. The other two hearings will be held July 9, July 16, both at 7 p.m. in room 315, the City & County Building. The public is invited to comment on the proposal at upcoming meetings, as well as the Truth-in-Taxation hearing.
Council Members believe public input on the budget has been invaluable as residents have spoken at public hearings and sent in comments through email, and to Open City Hall, the City’s online forum. Four public hearings were held, starting in May
City Council Statement Regarding Budget override
June 21, 2013
With the budget we have passed today, the Salt Lake City Council reaffirms its dedication to making a better Capital City.
The Council respects Mayor Becker and believes his Recommended Budget is sound in many ways. The Mayor’s Recommended Budget is the beginning of the City’s budget conversations. It then takes many points of view to jointly and wisely manage the hard-earned tax dollars provided to the City.
After long discussions about the budget and concerns about the ‘right time,’ we have come to the conclusion that we cannot continue to delay fixing our aging streets or further trim the budgets of public safety. The City – its businesses, its residents and its employees – have continued to do more with less. We are not proposing lavish expenditures.
This budget is part of a multi-step approach to find broad, fair revenue sources in order to protect our core services and infrastructure for Salt Lake City. This budget focuses on:
- Public safety by stabilizing funding and resources for our police & fire departments
- Preserving infrastructure by funding streets, curb, and sidewalk repairs, and overdue parks maintenance. Cheaper repairs now mean less costly replacements later
- A path of fiscal sustainability, reducing a reliance on one-time money for ongoing expenses
The Council-adopted budget preserves options and outlines an effective and responsible use of taxpayer dollars.
Now, the next step is to engage the public to help scrutinize our plan and give us feedback. Over the next 50 days, we will hold three public hearings on the proposed tax increase. We want your input and your ideas on this budget.
Our current City Budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013-14 will improve everyday life from the ground up. It’s something we believe is worth paying for.