The year 2018 proved to be a remarkable year of progress for the Salt Lake City Council, and for the City as a whole.
The Council agreed to focus its efforts in 2018 on three primary areas as priorities during the year: Northwest Quadrant, Transit Master Plan implementation, and curb-to curb infrastructure.
The Council also renewed its commitment to four other long-standing priorities: affordable housing, public safety funding, homelessness, and the overall budget health of the City.
A review of the actions and accomplishments in the past year, while acting as both Council and the Redevelopment Agency Board, shows major movement on those Priorities.
For example, the year ended with funding and plans for improved roads citywide; two new Homeless Resource Centers under construction; tens of millions of dollars in loans and other incentives to facilitate the development of additional affordable housing; and along the way, the City became an Olympic contender once again for a future Games.
View a compiled list of accomplishments.
The Northwest Quadrant
Much of the Council and staff’s work this year focused on new State legislation that changed how the future will unfold in the Northwest Quadrant, and paves the way for an Inland Port. A look through the Council’s 2018 agendas reveals the number of items related to planning for all of the opportunities in the Northwest Quadrant and Inland Port.
- The Council and Board of the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) approved creation of the Northwest Quadrant Project Area. This new area will create a dedicated funding stream for development projects to help existing and new businesses within the project area.
- Acting as both the Council and RDA, the Council adopted resolutions establishing development agreements with property owners in the Northwest Quadrant. The development agreements ensure current land use regulations will carry forward and also create a process for future tax increment reimbursement requests.
- Significant time and focus went to develop and refine state legislation that created the Inland Port and its Board, including successfully negotiating for 10% of tax increment from the Inland Port to fund affordable housing within the City.
- The Council did not succeed in efforts to have funds related to growth in the Northwest Quadrant stay within the City, but secured acknowledgement the City will need funding to pay for services.
The Council also:
- adopted zoning amendments to help facilitate a Global Trade Port in Manufacturing Zones (railroad freight terminal facility, allow silos, repair shops and additional crane height).
- held a fact-finding session on economic development in the Northwest Quadrant and a related global trade/inland port proposal.
- authorized the City to enter into development agreements with Kennecott Utah Copper and NWQ, LLC, over zoning and property taxes.
- held another round of fact-finding, this specifically on the Inland Port, and was briefed by members of the Port Authority Board, including Derek Miller, Board Chair, about the Board’s subcommittees and the future steps for advancing development of the Port.
- authorized approval of a development agreement between Salt Lake City Corporation, the RDA, and NWQ, LLC in the Northwest Quadrant.
- authorized an interlocal cooperation agreement between Salt Lake City Corporation and the RDA to use a portion of tax increment to support the implementation of the Stadler Rail Community Reinvestment Area Plan.
- adopted zoning changes related to the Inland Port. The City needed to adopt changes by the end of 2018 to satisfy State Code requirements. Additionally, the amendments include a requirement for an impact mitigation plan for conditional uses and development standards for activities that involve transporting, unloading, loading, transferring or temporarily storing natural resources. The Council held public hearings on this proposal on November 13 and November 27.
- Held the third of three fact finding sessions about the Inland Port. Presenters included Natalie Gochnour, Executive Director of the Gardner Policy Institute, Cameron Diehl, Executive Director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, Alan Matheson, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, and Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
Significant funding for Transit Master Plan Implementation and Infrastructure
In previous years, tight budgets limited progress on maintaining City streets and supporting infrastructure, and hampered the City’s ability to execute opportunities to improve transit. This year, in response to master planning efforts, public engagement, and City budget needs, the Council approved an increase to the sales tax and placed a bond vote on the November ballot, which voters supported.
- The Council adopted a supplemental sales and use tax, which will increase Salt Lake City’s portion of sales tax by 0.5 percent, equal to 5 cents on a $10 purchase. The tax excludes groceries and large purchases like vehicles. Revenue could be used for City services and projects including, but not limited to: streets maintenance, road reconstruction projects and other infrastructure needs, transit, public safety and affordable housing.
- The Council, while implementing the sales tax, put into motion the City’s Transit Master Plan, a document outlining the City’s “blueprint” for future transit options.
- The Council adopted a resolution supporting a .25 percent local option general sales tax dedicated to transit and transportation projects countywide.
- The Council unanimously adopted a resolution to place an $87 million Streets Reconstruction Bond on the November General Election ballot. Salt Lake City residents then supported the bond vote, which raised property taxes by fewer than $5 on an average-valued home in order to reconstruct the City’s worst streets and roads.
- reviewed a report that rates the condition of every City-owned street in Salt Lake City.
The Council also:
- agreed, with funding from the optional sales tax,that more than $5 million for the first fiscal year of Phase I projects proposed by the Mayor is contingent on a contract and Interlocal Agreement that serves the Council’s identified objectives below:
- Increasing coverage for underserved areas, particularly the Westside but not excluding other underserved areas of the City;
- Increasing ridership, particularly in the City’s downtown core;iii Building out infrastructure on Transit Master Plan routes;
- The Budget and timeline is based on 1000 North, 600 North, 200 South, 900 South, 2100 South. 400 South will be the last route implemented.
- the Council held a public hearing about a proposed agreement with Utah Transit Authority to expand bus service on key routes. The agreement is part of the City’s Funding Our Future initiative, part of which was a $5.3 million sales tax revenue allocation for improved transit service. The Council will take action on this item in the coming months. If approved, new bus routes could be in service by late 2019 or early 2020.
Continued funding for affordable housing and homelessness
It was possible in 2018 to continue necessary funding, because of the opportunity to increase sales tax revenue. The Council’s priorities and personal investment in these critical community issues has enabled the City to continue funding and support to affordable housing, which is a direct benefit to our residents and those experiencing homelessness.
- RDA’s 2018 notice of funding availability that included $10 million for affordable housing. In the last several years, the City Council & RDA allocated 34 million dollars to a growing fund of money to be used for affordable housing and the mechanism to access the funds has been implemented.
- The Council successfully negotiated with State lawmakers for 10% of increment from the Inland Port to fund affordable housing within the City.
- The Council, in approving a 0.5% sales tax increase, earmarked $4 million of projected revenue to address critical affordable housing needs.
- The RDA Board approved a loan of $3.2 million to the Salt Lake City Housing Authority to facilitate the redevelopment of the Capitol Motel, located at 1749 South State Street and 120 East Wilson Avenue.
- The Council asked the City’s Planning Division to incorporate additional changes into the proposal for changes to Accessory Dwelling Units. The Council, later in the year, then adopted a proposal to allow ADUs, commonly known as mother-in-law apartments, in more parts of the City. The Council held and closed a public hearing at which 14 people spoke, before approving the ordinance.
- The Council reviewed a new Renovation Pilot Program, which will offer loans to developers to improve existing affordable housing units in the City in exchange for a guaranteed period of continued affordability – at least 30 years.
- The RDA Board approved a total of $8.5 million in housing loans to create 570 total new housing units, of which nearly 300 will be affordable.
The Council also:
- discussed ordinances streamlining language in City code to make planning and zoning processes more clear for developers and neighbors.
- discussed a resolution that would authorize a loan from Salt Lake City’s Housing Trust Fund to Denver Partners LLC. The $500,000 loan would be used to convert existing housing at 770 South Denver Street into 22 permanent supportive housing units for vulnerable adults with special needs.
- was briefed by the Housing Gap Coalition about its purpose, goals and the findings of a study about affordable housing.
- authorized the donation of City property to Neighborhood House, Inc., a Utah Nonprofit Corporation.
- authorized a Loan from Salt Lake City’s Housing Trust Fund to Denver Partners LLC (Denver Street Apartments/770 South Denver Street) – a portion of which included affordable housing.
- authorized a loan from Salt Lake City’s Housing Trust Fund to Liberty Uptown Associates, LLC for development at 325 East 200 South – a portion of which included affordable housing.
- authorized a loan from Salt Lake City’s Housing Trust Fund to First Step House for development at 426 South 500 East (426 Apartments Project) – a portion of which included affordable housing.
- continued offering input for ongoing planning, implementation and construction of two new Homeless Resource Centers (HRCs) that will provide shelter and important programs for people experiencing homelessness. This year the Council approved zoning standards for the two HRCs, part of putting housing and resources in place for our community, which includes contributing $500,000 toward construction of the HRCs.
- the RDA Board also approved a loan for up to $2,335,000 for a multi-family residential project located at 55 West 800 South.
Public Safety Funding
As part of the 2018-19 City Budget process and use of the new sales tax revenue, the Council supported funding for 27 public safety personnel, with more to be added in following years.
The Council also:
- reviewed and added funding for a Biennial Citizen Survey with an additional $30,000, and added public safety perceptions to the survey.
- supported the addition of a Community Health Care Paramedic and Public Education Specialist– $153,750 for nine months funding of these two new full-time positions.
- continued offering input for ongoing planning, implementation and monitoring of crime abatement in the Rio Grande area, and subsequent follow up operations in other parts of the City.
- funded Legal Defenders at Requested Level – Additional $50,000 to provide LDA’s requested funding level in response to case load increases partially attributable to Operation Rio Grande.
- discussed plans for an eastside police precinct, a concept that has been part of City planning efforts for years. Precincts serve as a closer home base for officers, allowing them to be more integrated into the communities they serve, decrease drive times, provide resources to the neighborhood, and add community visibility and help deter violent crime. An eastside precinct would be in addition to the Pioneer Precinct and the Public Safety Building.
- adopted a resolution to retain $212,789 of Police Impact Fees in order to preserve options and conduct due diligence for real estate for the precinct.
Emphasized the need to be cautious with overall City budget
- approved the optional sales tax increase as an ongoing conditional appropriation and suggested the City maintain a publicly available dashboard reflecting revenues received and actual uses. The Council focused on transparency and tracking how these new sales tax revenues are spent and what outcomes are achieved.
- adopted a resolution to issue up to $1.25 billion in airport revenue bonds to continue to fund construction of the new airport.
Other 2018 Accomplishments
There are many items the Council considers and acts upon throughout the course of a year. Each item carries its own impact to the community, individual residents, and the City as an entity. Though priorities are chosen in order to focus work, so many other items carry significance and receive the Council’s time and attention.
The Council also:
- funded deferred Parks Maintenance – $579,572 to provide regular maintenance at 24 parks, urban trails and open spaces. The properties were added to the City’s inventory of open spaces over the past 10 years without corresponding maintenance funding for Public Services Department.
- funded Buddy Benches – $7,500 for “buddy benches” at Salt Lake City School District Elementary schools. The School District will fund installation.
- adopted a joint resolution advocating for fossil fuel divestment and ethical banking practices for Salt Lake City Corporation.
- authorized Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED) to administer the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy District (C-PACE District) within the City. This helps property and business owners access financing for clean energy upgrades to commercial buildings.
- made changes to the Salt Lake Green Vehicle Parking Program, helping to create incentives for ownership of newer and more efficient vehicles
- suggested and funded a Census Coordinator. Not a worker seeking individuals to fill out forms, but a City employee or contractor working with the Gardner Policy Institute to ensure an accurate count. For example cross referencing the City’s new building permits with the Census Bureau’s master address file and ensuring enough interpreters are available for field workers.
- secured $10,000 to fund a conservation easement over Gilgal Sculpture Garden, a local attraction featuring cultural and historic artwork. Salt Lake City owns the parcel, located at 749
- E 500 S, and maintains the park open space. In accordance with the new easement,
Preservation Utah will be responsible for health of the park’s statuary and sculpture for years to come. Friends of Gilgal Garden, who attend to this local asset, requested the funding and will help facilitate next steps.
- discussed and adopted a resolution creating the Arts for All Program in partnership with the County for performances at the Eccles Theater. The program will provide discounted performance tickets to income-qualified City and County residents who may not otherwise be able to afford tickets.
- adopted a resolution authorizing the City to update limits on wastewater discharge permits, resulting in a compliant local regulatory structure that is more cost-effective than some alternatives.
- adopted a resolution authorizing the addition of new members Alta, Millcreek and Park City to the Central Wasatch Commission, making it a more inclusive body as it addresses concerns related to recreation and conservation in the Central Wasatch natural areas. Salt Lake City is a founding member of the Commission.
- approved a budget providing for hundreds of millions of dollars in maintenance and improvements to critical water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure throughout the City, including a new water reclamation facility to meet State and Federal regulations, as well as necessary repairs to existing drinking water treatment plants, pipes, pumps and storage facilities.
- discussed, as an RDA Board, a final version of a feasibility study and development plan for a public market by the Rio Grande Depot. A market in that area would be possible if construction was paid for independently, either through fundraising or government dollars. The Board also requested that staff evaluate the feasibility of activating the Utah State Fairpark, including a potential market at the site.
- discussed future development at the former City fleet block located at 850 South 300 West. Council Members expressed excitement at the development and housing potential at the site, which is situated a block from a Utah Transit Authority TRAX line
- the Redevelopment Agency Board adopted a resolution expressing its support for a working group of stakeholders to create a vision for historic Japantown, located on 100 South between 200 West and 300 West.
- the RDA Board allocated $100,000 for placemaking improvements in Japantown, a Capital Improvement Project. The Board also received an update about the facilitation process for the proposed large-scale mixed-use development project on Block 67, a City block bounded by 100 South, 200 South, 200 West and 300 West. The Board requested the RDA facilitate discussions between the developer (The Ritchie Group), Salt Lake County, and the Japanese-American Community about how to mitigate potential impacts of the project on adjacent properties.
- the Council adopted an amendment to the City Compensation Plan that sets the Council’s salary at 25 percent of the Mayor’s salary as of January. Currently, salaries are 20 percent of the Mayor’s salary. The increase will be paid for by the Council Office budget through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30. It will be incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget going forward.
- the Council was briefed about Salt Lake’s potential candidacy as a host city for a future Winter Olympics. The Council also adopted a resolution supporting the execution of an Olympic Expression of Interest Agreement. This is one of several preliminary steps relating to a potential host city bid.
- Passed an ordinance, which will put limitations on the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits at commercial animal establishments.
- adopted two ordinances that will create Community Reinvestment Areas for portions of State Street and the 9-Line. CRAs are a function of the City’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA), and are a way to designate property tax growth that can be spent on improvements ranging from infrastructure (sidewalks, lighting, benches), to low-interest small business loans and grants, to purchasing blighted property for development, to implementing environmental design strategies that deter crime. The action by the Council is the final step of a thorough process initiated by the RDA Board. Although it may take several years to generate significant funding to be spent in these communities, these new 25-year CRAs are tools that will benefit residents.
- discussed electric scooters, including feedback from the community. Discussion centered on safety concerns, scooters on sidewalks, and the ways other cities are approaching the new technology. The Administration is working on education efforts to clarify laws and etiquette. The City currently has temporary agreements in place with a few electric scooter companies. The Administration is working on developing an ordinance that would create standards for how all “shared mobility device” companies, including electric scooter companies, operate locally. The Council will discuss this topic again as the ordinance is drafted and processed.
- Adopted an ordinance clarifying regulations for non-conforming signs, which don’t align with current planning and zoning codes. The amendments were initiated by the Council in 2016 and are intended to preserve the character and charm these old signs add to neighborhoods while balancing impacts to neighboring properties.
View Press Release here.Tags: Accessory Dwelling Units, Arts, City Budget, General Obligation Bond, Homelessness, Housing, Infrastructure, Inland Port, Northwest Quadrant, Parks & Open Space, Public Safety, Sales Tax, Streets, Sustainability, Transit, Transit Master Plan