Today was the Council’s first meeting back in the City and County Building. It was a hybrid meeting where we were in person, but the public joined us virtually. See below for my recap of our meetings.
CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION:
- CITY AND COUNTY BUILDING: Information should be available soon for how the public can access city hall. Some services will be available via appointment and we hope that the public will be able to join city council meetings in person next week.
- COVID: Sat Lake County is back in the moderate transmission level. The City is doing well. No zip codes are above the 191/100k crude positivity rate. Please continue to get vaccinated. We are still below 50% in two zip code.
- RAISE UP SLC: $1.2M has been distributed to families who were not eligible for stimulus money. 1,655 total cards of $500 or $1,000 have been given to SLC families. About $220,000 still exists in that account so funding is still available.
- HOMELESSNESS: Homeless Resource Centers usage is at about 88% capacity. The vacant beds, however, are often reserved for people who aren’t physically in the center that night but who would return the next day so the number of actual available beds may be lower. Resource fairs continue to operate. Kayak Court will happen again this Friday. The admin is also looking for additional waste receptacle locations (reach out if you have spots you’d like to suggest). Airport Inn should re-open in September. Renovations are currently underway. Salt Lake Valley Coalition To End Homelessness (SLVCEH) is actively working on shelter options for next winter.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT: 20 New officers will be on the streets in about a week. Several promotions took place last week as well. The gaps are starting to be filled. We approved a 30% increase in pay for starting officers which we all hope will have a great effect on our applicant pool. Full staffing for our department is 569 sworn officers. Of those there are 64 that are currently vacant. We expect that 20 will be starting the academy in August and the department believes that with our salary increases they will be able to attract lateral hires including individuals who left the department and have expressed interest in coming back.
ALLEY VACATION NEAR 700 S. GOSHEN STREET: This is a small portion of a historic alley which is currently does not connect anywhere. It historically connected to an intersecting alleyway which was vacated back in the 60s. Because this alley does not connect to anything I do not see a reason that it is in the city or public’s interest to keep it.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM: We added money into the budget above the Mayor’s Recommended Budget, so this is an odd year where we have more money to spend than what the Mayor recommended funding for. We also have $38,000 which could be recaptured from completed CIP projects. Project #42, the Kensington Byway, is the only major difference between the Advisory Board and Mayor’s recommendation. I’ve received a lot of input about the importance of this project. I’ve also received a lot of input about supporting the 700 E. and Harrison Ave Community Garden. If there are any other funding priorities for my constituents now is the time to start giving us that feedback!! Learn more about Fiscal Year 2021-22 CIP process and projects.
FEDERAL LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: Simon and Company is the City’s Federal Lobbyist in Washington DC. Jen Covino, our chief lobbyist from Simon and Company, delivered us a briefing today about recent developments on the Federal Level. She discussed 4 recent Federal Legislative items of interest to the city. These included Coronavirus Relief Legislation, the return of Congressional Earmarks, the Federal Infrastructure Spending Package, and Grant Solicitations.
MOSQUITO ABATEMENT DISTRICT BRIEFING: The Mosquito Abatement District is funded by property taxes. They are planning a significant tax increase. They have 10 full-time and 30 seasonal employees and operate on a $3.8M budget. Their service district is similar to the SLC municipal boundary but not an exact match. This is a strange situation because we as the City Council do not vote on this tax increase, we just receive a briefing that it is happening. It is one of the few times that a non-elected board sets a tax rate. Today’s briefing was a general overview of what the MAD does and how they do their work. This is an item of interest for many SLC residents.
PROHIBITION OF DOGS AT ALLEN PARK: Because of the sensitive wildlife habitat we are being asked to prohibit dogs (both on and off-leash) from this new park.
CENTRAL BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT AREA DESIGNATION: This would re-establish a special assessment on commercial property for another 3-year period. These additional funds are used for downtown initiatives including marketing, holiday lighting, farmer’s market, etc. Currently, this is the only special assessment area of this kind in the city.
Fiscal Year 2021-2022, BUDGET AMENDMENT NO. 1: This budget amendment proposes some changes to our adopted budget. This proposes to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to pay for the increased Police Department Salaries which we previously approved. This would also increase the salaries for police leadership so that they would be equal to the top-level police officers. This would also increase all non-represented employees’ salaries to 4.5%.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS: We met Patrick Casey and Sam Janse who are being recommended for appointment to the Bicycle Advisory Committee. I appreciate everyone who is interested in and has been serving on our city boards and commissions. These were some of the first ways I got involved in the city and it’s a great way to help your community. If you’re interested in getting more involved you can find more information here.
CITY COUNCIL FORMAL MEETING:
SERIES 2021 BONDS FOR NEW SLC AIRPORT: This allowing the Airport to issue bonds to help pay for the Airport reconstruction. Only one comment was received on this item.
REZONE AT 860/868 EAST 3RD AVENUE: This project will replace an old gas station with townhomes. Around 3 comments were received on this and they were generally supportive.
REZONE AND MASTERPLAN AMENDMENT AT 850/870 EAST 2100 SOUTH: This project is the old Snelgrove property on 2100 South. Comments on this project were mixed between support and opposition.
REZONE AND MASTERPLAN AMENDMENT AT 810 EAST 800 SOUTH: This project will be a mixed-use development near the Smith’s on 9th and 9th. Three comments were received on this and they were mixed.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (CIP) PROJECTS: Several residents and community members spoke to us today expressing support for different items, both projects recommended for funding and not. This process is where we decide which projects receive funding this year. Some of the projects that we heard about include: 700 South Traffic Calming, Tennis Courts, Traffic Calming in Sugarhouse, Harrison Ave Community Garden, Odyssey House Building Repairs, and the Kensington Ave Byway. If you are interested in speaking about these CIP projects, please join our August 17th meeting where we will continue our taking public feedback on this issue. Learn more about Fiscal Year 2021-22 CIP process and projects.
AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSOLIDATED FEE SCHEDULE FOR 2021-22: No Public Comments were heard on this item.
GENERAL COMMENTS: Comments included Mosquito Abatement Practices, the role of the Parks, Natural Lands, Urban Forestry & Trails (PNUT) Advisory Board, impacts on Salt Lake City from the Inland Port, the format of future City Council Meetings, SLCPD pay raises, and staffing, Drought and Fire safety, Public Transit Ridership, and an expression of gratitude for Salt Lake City Staff.