Dear Mayor and Council Members,
Last year, Salt Lake City received your request for a number of adjustments to the boundary between our two cities, including parcels in and near Brickyard Plaza, Tanner Park, Parleys Historic Nature Park and a roundabout at 2300 East Street near 2700 South Street.
Our Council Members met in small groups with Mayor Silvestrini and City of Millcreek staff, discussing the proposal at length. At every occasion, our message has been clear. Any boundary adjustment between the two cities of Salt Lake and Millcreek would have to come with no net loss of tax revenue for Salt Lake City and our residents, in perpetuity. An ongoing net loss would spread the existing costs of operating Salt Lake City over a smaller tax base, and our constituents would bear the burden.
We were surprised to learn that Millcreek’s proposed General Plan anticipates these same boundary adjustments as part of Millcreek’s future land use, despite Salt Lake City’s elected officials’ clear message: The boundary adjustments are not equitable. What’s more, the Plan calls for a more aggressive scenario, grabbing after sections of our City between 2700 South and Millcreek’s existing border. This adjustment would even result in one of our current Council Members no longer residing in Salt Lake City.
The General Plan goes on to discuss sales tax “loss” to Salt Lake City due to existing boundary alignments. My colleagues and I would like to set the record more clearly. Sales and property tax in the Brickyard area—part of Salt Lake for over four decades—are not “lost” by Millcreek, because they have never been part of the two-year old city’s tax base. Salt Lake City, however, budgets for these revenues year-over-year. We provide services for the area, include its development in our master plans and consider the land and people an integral and indispensable part of the capital city. We encourage you to remove Salt Lake City from the City of Millcreek’s future land use map.
We’re still willing to come to the table and work for a mutual solution. However, as I and my colleagues have also said on more than one occasion, we cannot do so under threat of State legislation that would mandate an outcome that should only be the result of negotiations between and among cities. State politics should not interfere with these municipal land use decisions.
The Salt Lake City Council admires and respects the great work that property owners and Millcreek residents undertook to gain voter approval for the City of Millcreek’s creation. We express our support, respect and admiration for the good work you do to efficiently organize, position and manage Millcreek. Just as you are elected by and accountable to your voters and taxpayers, we are accountable to our voters and taxpayers. We cannot support any proposal that creates a net loss of Salt Lake City’s base revenue; we cannot divert that base revenue from core City services without compensation. As noted, such a proposal is currently exhibited in Millcreek’s General Plan.
We welcome the opportunity to work with you to negotiate an equitable solution; this might involve collaboration between our cities on any number of alternative proposals, recognizing our mutual needs and rich opportunities for interface at our shared border. We look forward to working together as neighbors with shared interests. We want Salt Lake City and Millcreek to thrive and prosper together. We stand ready to continue this conversation and build a mutually respectful and fruitful relationship.
Salt Lake City Council