At today’s meeting, the Council
- discussed some changes to the Police Department budget that would increase transparency and allow additional time for further evaluation, especially with the help and direction of a to-be-established City commission that would evaluate equity in policing, per recent conversations with Mayor Mendenhall. Details will be announced in the coming weeks. The scope of the new commission is still a work in progress and the Council has hopes it will review and make recommendations on how to address systemic bias at various levels of government, especially at the City level.
- indicated support for creating an ordinance requiring the public sharing of information collected by the Police Department that is of policy interest to the Council and the public (for example, when changes are made to department policy that impact use of force).
- made a request for additional reporting of the department’s process and policy changes, including that the Police Department would provide more regular reports on operational or policy changes related to officer use of force and techniques.
- straw-polled a plan to set aside $1.7 million for to-be-determined projects within communities of color. (A straw-poll is an unofficial vote that allows the Council to show support of an idea, plan, or initiative and allows work to begin work on the topic. A straw-poll is finalized when the budget is formally adopted.)
- indicated support for the intent that any future COVID-19 related stimulus dollars received be prioritized to address community programs that were identified through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) process, which didn’t receive funding in Fiscal Year 2020-21 due to scarcity of funding resources.
- discussed and indicated support for a plan to have a thorough financial review of the Police Department budget by an outside auditor to provide information for the Council to conduct a “zero-based budget” exercise in the coming year. This would re-build the department’s budget from zero in order to evaluate expenses, programs and historical spending, with the goal of aligning expenses with Council and community expectations for the department. This outside review and budget exercise would be a longer-term project in preparation for either mid-year budget adjustments or for the next fiscal year budget process.
The Council asks Salt Lake City residents to: “Please stick with us in this conversation and recognize that the budget adoption isn’t an end point, but a starting point. The City Council will continue to meet and explore additional measures including greater accountability in the budget in the coming months. We meet several times per month, and conversations as important as this one are ongoing.”
Barring new information in the coming days, the Council directed staff to prepare budget adoption documents with these requests included. Budget adoption is set for next Tuesday, June 16 during the 7 p.m. formal meeting. Information and updates on the proposed budget, as well as a feedback form for comments on the budget, can be found here. Comments received by June 16 at noon will be provided to the Council before the formal meeting for consideration.
All agenda-related comments received through any source are shared with the Council and added to the Council public meeting record.
Visit the Council’s agenda page for meeting documents and video or view an archive of prior meeting recaps.