From Make it a Park:
I feel it is important to repost this image.
I feel it is important to repost this image.
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:
Watching the latest city council mtg on live stream. Budget season=headaches! So watch our wonderful Mayor refuse to compromise on ANYTHING that the city council proposes in a shortfall budget year so she can maintain her bloated administrative budget that grows by $400,000 EVERY year and then blame the city council when the public gets angry about the money she keeps spending. So ironic!! So the public will once again not get lighting for our dark crime ridden streets so her and her administration can continue to make triple figure salaries in the poorest city in Utah!!!
Seems the mayor is defending her stance…well here is mine.
Yes we are proposing cutting some services, primarily 4
Take home vehicles for some of the city employees
Code enforcement from 393,000 to 300,000, which would keep them inline with animal services budget.
To change the city newsletter from our own to contracting with the
valley journal saving 40,000
And cutting the mayors administrative budget from 1.9 m to 1.6 m. This is still a higher level than when she took office. This is by far the biggest cut in the budget. Some of us feel her administration is top heavy. As an example, we have a landscape architect making 110, 000 a year and benefits making her at about 150. The mayor also employs her own sister in law to work directly in her office at a salary of about 42,000. Her title is “special projects”. She was asked what this means.
You can see this dialogue about her staff online from the video of
the meeting last week on the city web site. Also, I would encourage
you to watch tonight and tomorrow on line as well or come. http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/88397548
We are not cutting police. We are not cutting fire. We are not cutting animal services. We did however move them. Animal services is to be moved to police and code enforcement to economic development. So it can be argued we dissolved urban livability, but we instead re assigned the two departments to other departments.
However we are looking at contracting ambulance with
county. Same with animal services. But at this time, all we are
looking for is a quote to see if there are any substantial savings.
Now the reason we are doing all of this…..capital projects. The
mayors budget decreased capital from over 6 million last year to 2.9 this year. The majority of the council feels that citizens pay
property taxes for capital, not to allow the mayor to have a top heavy administration, staffed by family and friends, and do so on the back of these capital projects.
As we cut these 4 items, we have decided that the things that matter to us are
A flashing crossing arm on 400 east and the trax line where 2 people were killed last year 200k
Curb gutter and sidewalk on penny ave 500k
Street scraping the rock islands on Helm and Baird ave 200k
And 500,000 into street lightening on our darkest streets.
This is where the cuts are being re allocated to.
As we made these proposals last week, the mayor asked us to give her a few days to come up with other numbers. What SHE came back with was
cutting one police officer, (No thank you)
cutting her administrative budget 18,000 instead of the 300,000
Cutting code enforcement salaries 100,500 instead of the overall 93,000 we are proposing, not to mention Nuisance property abatement program 20,000 and 2,000 for graffiti mitigation and cutting the freedom festival 5,000. (Funny, on her Facebook page she says this was us…The last three items came from her.)
Seems she is bent on not taking out of her own budget, taking it back to a level still higher than it was at when she took office.
I would gladly forward you the emails showing what she has proposed. You can see what we proposed by watching as much of the last meeting as you can tolerate, as it was 5 hours long.
Well, now the budget is coming to a head. Last night the city council overwhelmingly sent a message to the mayor that citizens pay property taxes to have capital improvement done in their community. In this tightest of budget years, the mayor proposed a reduction of capital by half over last year with no reduction in staff. We feel she is balancing this shortfall on the backs of the community’s curb, gutter, sidewalk…on the back of lighting up our dark streets, on the back of doing what citizens pay taxes for. However, she made no concessions in staff, no reduction, and in fact, she herself would have been part of was part a 3% raise to city employees. We changed all that last night.
Ben Pender has been critical of how may employees in the city have take home cars. He sought to curb that amount.
I pushed for increased street lighting.
Kevin sought for an official rfq from any interested agencies for Animal Services to see if there was a way to save money there.
Debbie supported the idea of dissolving Urban Livability and putting Code Enforcement under Economic Development while Animal Control would go under police. As well Code Enforcement would be reduced by 100,000 thereby bringing them in line with the same budget as animal services.
Mark Kindred proposed cutting the mayors administrative budget from 1.9 million dollars to 1.6 millions dollars.
As well, we agreed to defund the city newsletter and contract with the Valley Journals, thereby saving 40,000 a year, officially asked for an rfq for ambulance services and took elected officials out of the proposed raises.
It is refreshing to see that this council understands that the residents of this city pay taxes to see improvements. And when times get lean, as they are now, you don’t simply balance the budget on the backs of projects that can physically change the city just so you can maintain the same level of administration.
If you want to change a community, you have to change it physically. Sometimes you have to decrease overhead (overhead that has increased over the past few years) so that you can make those changes.
The mayors capital improvement budget has a decrease of approximately half from last year’s. The 2015/2016 budget had over 6 million dollars in capital projects, but this year’s is under 3 million. I understand we have a tight year, but I do not like the fact we are spending 70,000 on an Arts Council, 52,000 for the Chamber of Commerce, a 3% raise for the mayor and (I believe) the council. when we have cut our curb, gutter, sidewalks, streets and street lighting and facilities by half. I am ok with the 1% cost of living raise to employees and a step increase, but believe we need to be addressing more capital improvements than we are. I have not yet brought it up, but I would like to see increased street lighting in some of our darker streets. I think this is a more important priority than some other items currently in the mayors recommendations.
FYI…Recently, SSL applied for ZAP funds to renovate the Old Scott School on 3300 South and 500 East. It was a once every 10 year process and would have allowed for a substantial improvement. The County denied this grant.