Millcreek Forcible Annexation of Brickyard:
Normally, I do not dedicate much time to national or state legislation as I try to focus on city issues. However, tonight I make an exception. With the Utah State Legislature in session, a bill has been produced, House Bill 262 “Municipal Boundary Adjustment Amendments”, that is an attempt by Millcreek City to effectively annex, from Salt Lake City, the Brickyard Shopping Plaza and a small piece of property east of 11th east from the plaza. Currently, under state law, cities can mutually decide to adjust their boundaries by negotiation. While negotiation can be messy and laborious, it also ensures that both parties can walk away feeling that the process was fair and beneficial to both parties.
Brickyard plaza was annexed into Salt Lake City over 40 years ago, at the request of the owner. Since then, they have enjoyed SLC utility connections and rates and since SLC went to a council form of government, represented by a local city councilor.
Millcreek City was incorporated two years ago as a city from formerly unincorporated Salt Lake County land. When they voted to do so, they also did so with clear boundaries that they currently retain.
Several months ago, Millcreek’s Mayor Jeff Silverstrini and their new Economic Development Director Mike Winder, who also serves as a state legislator from West Valley, approached Salt Lake City with a request to have SLC give Millcreek Brickyard and land across 1300 East as well as some other border properties. Their “offer” was that the tax revenue that property creates ($2.6 million/year from Brickyard and almost $8 million from all areas they proposed) would be put into an account, for the first 10 years, to be used towards building an extension of the Sugarhouse Street car line to Millcreek’s town center. Any tax revenue afterwards would be kept by Millcreek City.
My response, similar to my colleagues, was that while we understand we could negotiate on these parcels, simply giving them away and then using the lost revenue to build another amenity for Millcreek would not be a fair transaction for our city and residents. If they had another offer that would come closer to making SLC residents financially whole, and would allow current residents who would be affected a voice in that process, I would be open to listening. In some of my colleagues meetings, Millcreek officials inferred that if we did not accept their offer, they would seek to compel us through state legislation (again, Mike Winder is also a legislator).
And thus we find that as of yesterday, Representative Val Potter (R-North Logan) is sponsoring HB 262 which is written directly to transfer this property to Millcreek with no compensation for SLC residents, and no way for SLC residents living there to have a say in this land grab. While Representative Potter is running the bill, Representative Mike Shultz (R-Hooper), Mike Winder (R-West Valley) and Senator Dan McCay (R-Riverton) are pushing this bill.
I find it ridiculous that a process that allows cities to determine jointly their shared boundaries, ensuring mutual agreement and best outcomes, would be completely erased in favor of cities and private developers battling over financial incentives and grabbing adjoining land without consent of residents or neighboring cities. I am incredulous that Millcreek Mayor Silverstrini, recently elected to the board of the Utah League of Cities and Towns, would purposely seek to undermine the mutual respect of cities within the league and actively undermine the league principle “to protect community autonomy and preserve their ability to self-govern”. Tonight I regret voting to appoint him to that organization board and intend to seek to hold him accountable for this horrendous action. If you find the desire to help stop this, please contact your legislators and those mentioned above and let them know of your disapproval of this bill.
Federal Employee Emergency Loan Program:
The city administration (mayor’s office and departments) have put forward a proposal to create a Federal Employee Emergency Loan Fund that would assist people who have been harmed by the recent federal government shut down and potential second shut down. Basically, it would provide $100,000 in no interest loans to Salt Lake City residents who are federal employees or any SLC airport employees and who are at or below 100% of the federal poverty level to assist in covering emergency bills. We are told that one of the major issues has been childcare providers being less flexible in working with those employees who have been without federal paychecks. I hope that we do not have another shut down but if we do, we have some temporary support for our own citizens who are unfairly punished.
Funding Our Future- UTA Interlocal Agreement:
The city and UTA have almost finished the working agreement to expand our local bus service, including 15 minute expanded hours for the 200 South, 900 South and 2100 South buses. We will have an “openbus” Saturday Feb 9th from 9:45-2pm at the Glendale Circle. Three free buses will drive a portion of the route through the neighborhood and collect feedback from riders about the route, amenities, and anything else you would like to share. Please come out and contribute to a more accessible transit system for all of us.