RDA Board Meeting
BICYCLE COLLECTIVE LOAN: This item is a $1.75M construction loan to the Bicycle Collective with an interest rate of 3.66%. It is a repayable loan with a 20-year amortization and a repayment term of 5 years. I’m excited about what this building and organization will add to the Central 9th neighborhood. We approved this loan unanimously.
LOAN AMENDMENT FOR WEST END LLC: This item is an amendment to a previously approved RDA loan. This is a $3.1M loan at a 0.46% interest rate which was originally approved in 2019. The amendment to the loan is a term extension for an additional 5 years at a rate of 2.46% for years 5-10. We approved this loan amendment unanimously with Board Member Valdemoros recused.
Council Work Session Meeting
- COVID: A notable metric from today is that only 34.4% of eligible residents are up to date on vaccinations. If you are over 55 or immunocompromised you are eligible for an additional booster shot. We had hit a case count low at the end of March but we are currently seeing rising case counts as well as rising sewage collection data.
- COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Current projects and initiatives requesting public feedback include: the Ballpark Station Area Plan, Affordable Housing Incentives (Planning Commission Tomorrow), Waste Rate Increases, Love Your Block (applications open), and others. Other projects in the works or coming soon include Shelter Zoning, Downtown Plan Implementation, ADU Ordinance Modifications, and the Food Equity Program.
- HOMELESSNESS: There will be a resource fair on May 13th at Fairmont Park, Kayak Court is also scheduled. The Utah Homelessness Council meeting is on May 12th. We are working on our plan for the $2.75M in mitigation funding that we expect to receive from the state. From initial discussions, it looks like a lot of that will be directed to dedicated police resources near the homeless resource centers (understanding that it takes time to hire and train new officers). There is a state online dashboard that is available to the public at: jobs.utah.gov/homelessness/homelessnessdata.html
- COUNCIL STAFF OVERVIEW: This item was an overview from our City Council staff about the city budget process and the FY23 budget we are currently reviewing and considering. In incredibly rough terms, this year’s budget proposes several improvements to city services which result in new staffing requirements and funding needs. We are also trying to make a shift toward funding our ongoing needs with ongoing money rather than with “one-time” money such as ARPA. The budget does result in a proposed tax increase as well as proposed bonds. The rates for sewer, water, storm drain, and trash fees are all proposed to increase as well. The major question in front of the council is how critical these increases in service level are and whether they justify the increased cost to residents. The vast majority of the increases are items the council and the public have been requesting for years. Furthermore, most of these items advance the city’s goals of equity and diversification of public safety responses (MRT, CHAT, Social Workers, Civilian Response Teams, HEART, Park Rangers, etc.). Other city goals these funds will help us achieve include homelessness services, transit and transportation, development, affordable housing, business and economic development, and neighborhood safety. It’s worth noting that many of these increases in service were already discussed and approved in Budget Amendments over that past year. Finally, we discussed the way property tax is calculated and how an increase by the city factors into the calculation of what a resident actually pays (short version: it’s incredibly confusing).
- ADMINISTRATION’S OVERVIEW: After our council budget overview we heard an update from the city’s finance office. The first topic of discussion was related to sales tax. Sales tax is a major part of our yearly budget but it is also the most volatile portion of our revenues. The finance department has been working on some tools for us to understand better the trends in this change and we were introduced to some of those new tools. REVENUES: The mayor’s budget focused on 4 major priorities: Our Growth, Our Environment, Our Community, and Our City Family. Overall budgeted revenues in this budget add up to $424M which is a $45M increase over last year (this is for the general fund only). Including all the enterprise funds (airport, public utilities, etc.) the overall city’s budget is proposed at $1.8B. EXPENSES: The city’s internal budget committee used a decision matrix to determine what items to fund this year. The items considered were: if there is a mandate, is the city the only organization responsible, how does it benefit the community, equity, and air quality, and does it meets the mayor’s goals? Overall there are 132 more employees this year than budgeted last year but 46 of those were already determined and approved through budget amendments.
- OVERVIEW OF PROGRAM-BASED BUDGETING: This discussion is related to a new system for budgeting that the city is beginning to look at called program-based budgeting. This year police and finance were pilot departments that tested this system as a pilot. The high-level goal with this is to give us more insight as to what different programs actually cost and it will allow an individual employee to allocate their time between each individual program so we know which programs are effective and which might not be producing results that justify the costs. For instance, currently, the cost of a snow plow shows up in the fleet department and the cost of the operator of the plow shows up in public services. Instead of this line-item approach, we would aggregate all the individual costs, regardless of which department they live in, to see the total cost for the “program” of snow removal.
- OFFICE OF THE CITY ATTORNEY: The Attorney’s office serves the council, mayor’s office, and all other city departments as our general counsel. It also includes the recorder’s office, the city prosecutor’s office (contracted with District Attorney Sim Gill), and the city’s risk management team. This team is incredibly important and helps us sort through the legal considerations of the issues we are faced with. The department has requested a 13% budget increase over the FY22 adopted budget. Some of this is due to a few additional FTEs, salary increases to compete with the rapidly changing private law firm talent market, the reclassification of several important and key employees in the city, and a budget for technology and software upgrades.
PROTECTING PATIENT PRIVACY AND RIGHTS NEAR HEALTHCARE FACILITIES: This ordinance creates a 15-foot buffer zone around healthcare facilities’ entrances where demonstrations and protests cannot take place. It also prohibits loud noises near those facilities. This is an effort to ensure that healthcare facilities are safe for doctors and patients and that patient privacy is protected.
20 MPH DEFAULT SPEED LIMIT ON CITY STREETS FOLLOW-UP: This is a follow-up to a discussion that we initiated a month or so ago. The current draft changes the default speed limit AND the speed limit on all local streets to 20 miles per hour. This accounts for 70% of all the streets in the city. At 20 miles per hour, the risk of death to a pedestrian in an auto-ped accident is 7%. The risk increases exponentially as speeds increase. One note is that the goal of this ordinance change is not to write more tickets and neither the council nor the department is advocating for increased enforcement. But this has been shown in other cities, such as Portland, to significantly improve pedestrian safety on our streets.
Limited Formal Meeting
- REDISTRICTING CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT BOUNDARIES: We unanimously passed a new city council district map.
- APPOINTMENT TO THE UTAH INLAND PORT AUTHORITY BOARD: We unanimously appointed Council Member Victoria Petro to serve on the UIPA board, representing the city.
- 20 MPH DEFAULT SPEED LIMIT ON CITY STREETS: After our discussion earlier today we adopted this ordinance unanimously.