Tonight, Mayor Jackie Biskupski presented her recommended General Fund Budget for fiscal year 2019-20, describing it as the “culmination of the work” her Administration and City Council have done together over the last three years.
The $330 million-dollar General Fund Budget represents an overall growth of $28 million-dollars, including increased revenue from property and sales-tax collection, as well as the newly adopted County quarter-cent transportation sales-tax. The FY20 budget also accounts for a full year the City’s Funding Our Future half-cent sales-tax initiative—estimated at $34.5 million-dollars—which prioritizes funding for roads, affordable housing, transit, and law enforcement.
Mayor Biskupski’s budget proposes a 2% salary increase for the majority of the City’s employees, as well as the addition of a 6% step increase in police officer pay at year twelve of an officer’s career. This change was made during negotiations with the Salt Lake Police Association and was described by the mayor as necessary to improve retention and “reflect the full 20-to-25-year career path” of police officers. The City is also once again dealing with increases in health care costs, estimated at $1.4 million-dollars.
The Mayor also requested funding from various sources to strengthen the City’s parks and public lands. These included the hiring of two new urban forestry crew members, the renovation of the Seven Canyons Fountain in Liberty Park which was closed due to health and safety concerns in 2017, the creation of a new event space in Jordan Park, and a significant restoration of the Fisher Mansion Carriage House adjacent to the Jordan River Trail. The mayor described the Carriage House renovation as an opportunity to create an “anchor for recreational riders and commuters from around the region.”
Once again, Mayor Biskupski specifically referenced the priorities of the Funding Our Future (FOF) initiative which she proposed, and the Council adopted in 2018. This year, the mayor recommended allocating $7.68 million-dollars of FOF revenue toward transit, $5.1 million-dollars toward affordable housing, $5.4 million-dollars toward street maintenance and repair, and $12.5 million-dollars toward law enforcement efforts.
In her speech, the mayor described a number of ongoing projects which began last year using the Funding Our Future revenue, including the hiring of 50 new police officers, the launch of three high-frequency transit lines, numerous housing programs, and a new streets maintenance crew.
Mayor Biskupski also announced funding for two new police department initiatives, including an upgraded body-camera program and a police fleet replacement program focused on newly announced hybrid police sedans. In her remarks, the mayor said that each of the new 110 proposed hybrid sedans would save the City $2,300 in fuel costs and prevent 15,000 pounds of CO2 annually. In describing the hybrid initiative, Mayor Biskupski referenced the City’s carbon reduction plan and said the replacement program would “honor the pledge we made to the people of Salt Lake City.”
Mayor Biskupski completed her speech by referencing $80,000 in funding for a new Census coordinator for Salt Lake City. The mayor indicated this position was critical for the City to ensure it receives the appropriate amount of federal funding, especially as the State legislature declined to fund any state-wide Census outreach efforts.
Other significant highlights from the Mayor’s recommended budget:
- Total of $21 million-dollars in funding from various sources (Impact Fees, Class-C, FOF, and General Fund) for road repair and maintenance
- $2.5 million-dollars in funding for various homeless services programs, including $500,000 to fund a new street outreach program operated by the Volunteers of America
- Creation of a new Equity Planner position to help create and implement equity strategic plans in City departments
The Mayor’s Recommended FY20 General Fund Budget encompasses all Salt Lake City departments with the exception of the Airport, Public Utilities, and Redevelopment Agency, which as Enterprise Funds present separate budgets to the City Council. The City Council now has until June 30, 2019 to review and formally adopt the budget.
A full version of the Mayor’s Recommended FY20 General Fund Budget can be found here: https://www.slcdocs.com/budget/mayor2020.pdf