Dear South Salt Lake Friends and Residents,
I was elected as your Mayor with a vision for a “Safe, Clean, and Beautiful” South Salt Lake. City staff and dozens of community partners have tirelessly dedicated themselves to the accomplishment of this vision, and our city has prospered and progressed.
Since becoming your Mayor, without raising taxes, I created the Urban Livability Dept., which brings together resources to clean up and beautify our city. Included in this department is Community Connection, which has brought together thousands of volunteers each year, and notable organizations such as the United Way, Comcast, Larry H. Miller Group, and American Express, to serve our residents and help revitalize our neighborhoods. Since the program began in 2011, Community Connection has completed over 250 housing projects for residents in need and 45 projects at parks and community facilities. This work has been leveraged by the labor of 6,930 volunteers contributing over 41,000 volunteer hours, valued at $800,000. This program has become a nationwide model and brings leaders of cities throughout the country to SSL to learn about what we have done. Also included is the Environmental Crimes Task Force, which has developed a relationship with the County and others to identify and prosecute those whose actions harm our environment and waterways. We have also strengthened graffiti removal by utilizing a half-time employee to remove graffiti from public spaces.
In April, I presented the city council with a balanced budget proposal that closes the 2016 gap in sales tax revenue, which occurred as a result of the state legislature’s reallocation of sales tax.
At the City Council meeting on June 15th, the council majority proposed to add $1.7 million in unplanned capital improvement projects. With a 48 hour notice, I was forced to propose an 18% cut in the city’s general fund budget to accommodate the council hiring their own separate attorney, and to fund their special projects. The council has not sought other means of funding for their projects, such as seeking available grants or partnerships, nor have they followed a traditional master plan process.
The City Council’s budget cuts will reduce resident services by:
· Dissolving the City’s Urban Livability Department and reducing Code Enforcement and graffiti removal, eliminating abandoned property abatement, and inhibiting the Environmental Crimes Task Force
· Elimination of 5 specialized on-call Fire Battalion Chief vehicles, thus increasing response times for emergency calls
· Elimination of the On The Move City Newsletter
· Calling for an RFQ to contract out ambulance services (potentially creating a reduction of 12 firefighters and a shortfall of $900,000 to replace them)
· Calling for an RFQ to contract out animal services
If services on the above list are important to you, speak up now!
There are 2 things you can do:
1) Send an email to your council representative. The council webpage, that will take you to an email link is: http://sslc.com/city-government/city-council
2) Attend the two remaining Special Council Meetings dedicated to budget decisions:
Tuesday, June 21st at 7 PM and Wednesday, June 22nd at 6 PM
Because they are special meetings, there will be no public comment period. The power of the numbers of people and media representatives in the audience may discourage Council members from acting upon their own agendas.
I believe that together, we can make known the priorities and bring a positive resolution to the budget situation. It is a privilege to serve as your mayor.
Mayor Cherie Wood
The June 15th Council meeting can be viewed at:
Mayor Wood its your Agenda!