Council Work Session Meeting
- COVID: Overall cases and Wastewater data are up, but hospitalizations are down. The data is hard to understand because testing rates fluctuate which obviously changes case counts.
- WATER CONSERVATION: Today we received an update on water use this year. Overall we are looking pretty good based on the baseline year of 2000 and we look somewhat better than our past 3-year average. Utah is in the extreme/severe drought level according to drought.gov which is a website with nationwide drought information. The Department of Natural Resources has an online watering guide telling us when and how much we should water based on the type of sprinkler head and recent precipitation. extension.usu.edu/cwel/watercheck will provide free water checks to make sure individuals know how much water their sprinklers put out and how to properly calibrate.
- COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: slc.gov/feedback is kept up to date with opportunities for the community to give feedback on specific projects the city is working on. Current projects include Northpoint Small Area Plan, Downtown Plan Implementation, ADU Modifications, Affordable Housing Incentives, Transportation Master Plan, EV Station Business Survey, State Street Waterline, Water Reclamation Facility, City Creek Water Treatment Plant,
- HOMELESSNESS: Combined occupancy of HRCs is 98.2%. Cleanings, Resource Fairs, and Kayak Courts are all in full rotation/swing with the current focal point at the Jordan River. A report of operations and outcomes from the Redwood Road Winter Shelter is available. The overall cost was about $2.3M and 810 individuals were served over the duration of the program.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REVOLVING LOAN FUND TO BUDDIES, INC., 1150 EAST 600 SOUTH: This is a loan for $150K with 7.2% interest to the organization that will be operating the rides and concessions at Liberty Park. The previous owner of the rides and business is moving along and this loan is to the new owner and operator of the rides. In speaking with the new operator I am excited about some of their planned improvements and excited to see those rides in Liberty Park continue.
- INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SERVICES (IMS): IMS is an “internal service fund” which means that they receive money from all other city departments to provide IT services across the city. The budget is their proposed budget is $25,375,230 which is a 32% increase over the previous year. 8 new staff members are proposed including initiatives for data management and security as well as public communications. Much of this budget includes software license contracts, hardware purchases, cybersecurity upgrades, etc. IMS also operates a pretty robust apprenticeship program to help train future professionals.
- 911 DEPARTMENT: SLC 911 is a separate department from PD or Fire and dispatches all of the emergency and non-emergency calls for services. This is a department that is critical for many of the call diversion and alternative response model initiatives that we have been focusing over the past few years. Recruitment and retention have continued to be a problem for SLC 911. Last year we funded a 32-Hour work week pilot program but that failed to get off the ground. This year we are going back to a standard work week but are proposing raises to help with staffing.
- DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Economic Development includes 2 divisions, business support and the Arts Council. Business Support works to support local businesses both through resolving problems, helping liaison them through city processes, and providing loans for small businesses. The Arts Council promotes and supports local artists as well as manages our city’s public art collection. The proposed budget is $3.7M which is a 37% increase over the previous year. We approved 3 Arts Council staff increases in a budget amendment a few months ago so some of these increases were already discussed and voted on.
- METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT: Metro Water of Salt Lake and Sandy is the wholesale water supplier to Salt Lake City, Sandy City, and other surplus customers including irrigators and the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. This is one of the sources (but not the only source) for the water our city residents drink and use. The district operates 2 water treatment plants, Little Cottonwood and Point of the Mountain. They also maintain conveyance systems (aqueducts) and storage facilities (reservoirs, etc.). Because SLC is a member of Metro Water as well as owns our own supply and treatment facilities, we have a more robust system than many other cities. Metro Water District’s budget is technically not part of our City’s Budget and the City Council does not directly approve the budget. However, they are a taxing entity that collects property taxes from our residents and the City Council appoints 5 of the 7 trustees. They also control the wholesale water rates which eventually get passed down to our city residents. Water policy and governance are pretty complex and difficult to understand. But it’s important and critical to the health of our environment and the health of the Great Salt Lake.
- GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY: Salt Lake City is self-insured for liability claims. The budget for this fund is $3.1M. This includes 9 FTEs including in-house litigators and other legal staff, but it also includes money to pay out settlements or judgments for liability cases. This can include anything from a garbage truck hitting a mailbox to a police shooting. The biggest change this year is that the Mayor has proposed a separate property tax levy to go directly to the Governmental Immunity Fund. This is something allowed by state law but a tool that hasn’t been used since the 80s.
- UNRESOLVED ISSUES FOLLOW-UP: Every year when we get toward the end of our budget process we end up with a list of items that we need to get to a consensus on. This includes a potential list of items to and a potential list of items to remove. Some items that we considered adding include July Celebrations, Historic Signs Downtown, Street Racing Mitigation, nearly $2.5M for Traffic Calming, etc.
ADVICE AND CONSENT:
- SALT LAKE CITY JUSTICE COURT – JOJO CHOU LIU: This was a fun opportunity to provide advice and consent on Mayor Mendenhall’s recommendation for our newest Justice Court Judge, Jojo C. Liu. This vacancy was created by the retirement of Judge John Baxter. After a very extensive search with a very qualified applicant pool, Jojo C. Liu was selected for this position. Judge Liu delivered some nice remarks about her background as well as the purpose of the justice court and her vision for filling this role.