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Salt Lake City Council passes $205 million budget

Published June 20, 2012 8:48 am

City Council • Capital improvements get a boost, golf course gets a second chance and parking rates will rise.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's in the books. The Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday evening passed its $205.8 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year — it raises downtown curbside parking rates, pumps $250,000 into the Bonneville Golf Course and looks to boost capital improvement projects with future upswings in sales tax receipts.

The council's budget comes in about $1.5 million higher than Mayor Ralph Becker's proposed $204.2 million budget. The council balanced its budget by finding an extra $960,000 in property taxes, an estimated $250,000 in estimated parking citation fees, and $250,000 in increased sales tax projections.

The council's biggest deviation from the mayor's budget was an extra $888,549 it added to the Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) fund that underwrites such things as roads, sidewalks and storm sewers.

Becker had proposed $16.8 million for CIP, down from the $19.6 million budget for the current budget year that ends June 30.

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a motion by Councilman Charlie Luke to earmark any additional sales tax receipts not budgeted elsewhere to be added to the CIP fund. The council is hopeful that the new City Creek Center will generate more revenues than expected.

"We've spent a lot of time and money balancing budgets on deferred upgrades [to infrastructure]," Luke said in an interview. "Now that the economy is turning around, we need to redirect our focus on infrastructure improvements."

In an unexpected 11th hour move, Councilman Kyle LaMalfa proposed allocating $20,000 for a cultural consultant to aid in the development of the west side master plan.

The money, he said, would help reach minority groups on the west side who may not know how to participate in the master plan process.

The council unanimously approved the measure pending further discussion.

Council Chairman Soren Simonsen made a successful motion to keep open the Jordan River Par-3 Golf Course until further analysis could help define future uses for the land.

The council's budget also includes $219,000 in addition to Becker's appropriation of $6.3 million for parks upgrades and maintenance.

Also added into the council's budget is $110,000 for two zoning enforcement officers that had been cut in the mayor's budget.

Of the hundreds of items the council slogged through in budget deliberations, parking will most likely be the one residents remember. It ups hourly curbside rates downtown from $1.50 to $2 an hour. It increases meter enforcement from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meters will not be enforced on Saturday but free Christmas holiday parking streetside was eliminated.

Luke was the lone vote against those parking changes. He said they sent the wrong message to motorists deciding whether to come downtown.

But LaMalfa, who switched his vote on parking, said he was convinced that the changes would keep curbside slots available by encouraging turnover and providing incentive for longer-term users to park in private lots.

csmart@sltrib.com

Big changes to parking

• Hourly curbside rates downtown will rise from $1.50 to $2 an hour.

• Meter enforcement will last until 8 p.m., instead of 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

• Meters will not be enforced on Saturdays but free streetside Christmas holiday parking is being eliminated.