SALT LAKE CITY — Mayor Jenny Wilson of Salt Lake County has proposed a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that prioritizes “delayed” infrastructure and building renovations, as well as employee remuneration, amid worries about inflation and its potential repercussions.
Wilson characterized her offer as “Two budgets, two stories In this budget, there are both some difficult news and some extremely positive news “She made this statement on Tuesday during a speech to the Salt Lake County Council.
The mayor claims that her plan to spend $85 million on high-priority deferred maintenance tasks would represent the county’s largest maintenance expenditure ever. Some facilities are “truly, really necessarily needing some care,” which has been put off for more than ten years due to their age.
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Other noteworthy expenditures in the proposed budget include a $2 million contribution to the Other Side Academy’s tiny home village for people experiencing homelessness, $5 million for the preservation of open space in the county, $2 million for the capital costs of building a new Utah Aids Foundation community health center, which according to Wilson would be the state’s first LGBTQ health center, and $500,000 for the design of a new animal services center and animal park.
Due to an increase in the cost of products, Wilson highlighted that the base budget is “unusually limited” this year, but there is one-time government assistance available for enhancements. She claimed that county officials rejected requests for additional employees and put off developing new programs that fit the budget.
“The good news is that federal investments have given us once-in-a-generation possibilities. They enable radical change in our neighborhood, particularly for people who are frequently left behind “Wilson remarked. The county sewage canal needs to be repaired as pumps need to be replaced and vegetation is obstructing the canal’s flow, according to Wilson.
The budget would also include funds to replace the roof on the Salt Lake City Sports Complex, upgrade recreation centers’ ADA accessibility, make repairs and improvements at the county jail, improve parks, recreation, and senior centers, and perform repairs on the county jail.
The proposal includes a one-time compensation “boost” based on each employee’s pay grade, as well as a 4% base salary raise for all county employees. A one-time retention pay of 4% would be given to individuals in the lowest pay grade, 3% to those in the middle pay grade, and 2% to those in the highest pay grade.
According to Deputy Mayor Darrin Casper, the county’s general fund is at $284 million at the start of the fiscal year, and the objective is to keep the general balance over $180 million. Despite the “record” levels of employment that the county is currently experiencing, leaders do not anticipate a recession for Salt Lake County in the near future, according to Casper.
He suggested that the county could be “smart” to monitor federal legislation. Casper pointed out the probable necessity to use the cash for one-time expenses before that would happen, pointing out that should Congress change composition, it might take away American Rescue Plan Act monies. The mayor’s proposed budget will be discussed by the Salt Lake County Council, which will then determine whether to adopt it or not.