Salt Lake City

Affordable housing, air quality get top billing in Mayor Mendenhall’s proposed fiscal year 2024 budget

May 2, 2023

Significant investments in affordable housing, air quality, and the Great Salt Lake are at the center of Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s 2024 recommended budget, which she presented to the Salt Lake City Council Tuesday night. 

“Salt Lake City is ready. We are ambitious in our vision and confident in our budgeting. The priorities of our community guided us through the challenges of the past three years, and today, thanks to the decisions we’ve made together, our vision for the future is clear, bright, and possible,” she said. “This year’s recommended budget charts a path forward to further strengthen the foundation we’ve built, while recognizing the continued growth of our city population and resident needs. The opportunities at our fingertips today have the potential to positively impact our city for generations.”

The 2024 general fund budget of $444,504,923 is the second in a three-year budget strategy that responsibly prioritizes the environment and quality of life improvements for residents and visitors – all without a property tax increase. 

“It is critical for everyone to understand our commitment to lowering the cost of living in our capital city. Over the next month, the City Council will consider a combined $20 million in city-led affordable housing investment,” Mayor Mendenhall said.

The proposed budget includes an additional nearly $10 million for affordable housing. That’s in addition to more than $56 million the City has invested since 2020, and the $10 million in wealth building, affordable housing investment already before the Council as part of a 2023 Budget amendment. 

All told, City investments have helped create more than 4,000 affordable housing units – marking a 413% increase in unit creation – since 2020. By year’s end, seven more projects will either break ground or open thanks to RDA investment.

“Housing is the key to addressing the statewide homelessness crisis, but Salt Lake City also leads out on trying to connect unhoused people with services, and keeping our public spaces clean and safe for all,” she said. 

The proposed budget includes funding to bolster the Downtown Ambassador Program ($100,000), adds four more social workers to the City’s medical response teams ($400,000), and pending adoption by the City Council, provides tenant relocation and navigation services ($272,000) as identified from the City’s Thriving in Place, anti-gentrification and displacement work. 

The environment remains a priority for Mayor Mendenhall, as reflected in the inclusion of $230,000 for air quality incentives through the creation of an Residential Air Quality Incentive Program that will manage rebates for e-bikes, lawn care equipment and indoor air quality tools.

The mayor also announced that initial work will begin on a multi-year effort to identify the creation of a Great Salt Lake Shoreline Preservation area, a proposal brought to the City by a cross-section of residents, advocates and scientists including The Audubon Society, The Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of Great Salt Lake, the Rudy Duck Club, and the Westpointe community council.  Establishment of this corridor would help protect more wetlands and natural areas on the shores of the at-risk natural resource. 

The proposed budget also includes initiatives to increase the City’s intentional and equitable community engagement. Know Your Neighbor, a program that addresses a gap in services for refugees who have been in the community for more than a year, will be fully staffed and managed by the City where formerly it was co-operated with the state. With the expansion of the Love Your Block and SLC Corps programs, more city residents will benefit from grassroots neighborhood activation and beautification projects.

These targeted investments are in addition to funding for the critical services the City provides day in and out, including clean water, waste disposal and treatment, first responders, and more. It includes a 5 percent cost of living adjustment for non-represented employees and market-rate adjustments for positions that lag behind market wages.

“I want to wrap things up by speaking about the people who make this city run – our public servants. From the person you see filling a pothole on the street, to someone signing off on a building permit. The waste and recycling specialist at your curb, or the public utilities team member building a wall of sandbags. Fire fighters, police officers, 911 dispatch, and librarians, the list could go on,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “Each is part of our team of more than 3,000, who are behind the scenes working to improve the quality of every resident’s life. They take care of Salt Lakers in often invisible and incredibly crucial ways every day, and this budget aims to take care of them.”

Read the full English transcript of the Mayor’s speech here.

Read the full Spanish transcript of the Mayor’s speech here. 

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