Salt Lake County poised to quietly pass budget
No tax increase, no heated public hearing.
That appears likely Tuesday evening, when Salt Lake County invites residents to weigh in on the proposed $640 million budget for 2012.
The Republican-led County Council is expected to adopt the budget after the 6 p.m. hearing at the County Government Center, 2001 S. State St.
Democratic Mayor Peter Corroon defused much of the potential vitriol when he abandoned a once-contemplated tax hike that would have restored revenue lost to inflation and the Great Recession since county property taxes last went up a decade ago.
Instead, county departments complied with Corroon's request to cut back even more, sacrifices applauded by council members during detailed budget reviews during the past month.
"I was thrilled we were able to get through this and not have a downward effect on services, as far as I can see," said Republican Max Burdick, council chairman.
"We're going to have to work really hard [in 2013] to keep moving that direction," he added. "I'm proud of all of our department heads who went in and made those cuts without whining and still feel they can get their work done."
No department took a bigger hit than Human Services, whose seven divisions trimmed almost $1.9 million.
"Everyone took his share of the cuts," said Human Services Director Jean Nielsen, "but we did it with a scalpel â¦ to minimize harm to clients."
Echoed County Sheriff Jim Winder: "I'm satisfied with the outcome, given the fiscal realities of Salt Lake County and the nation."
Once again, the county's 3,600 employees would not get a raise in the proposed budget, which does contain funding for a few new projects.
Funding is available to operate a new community center in Millcreek and a senior center in Draper, to begin renovations of the Capitol Theatre in downtown Salt Lake City and to build a new fleet maintenance facility in Midvale.
The budget also has$1 million for deferred maintenance. The county earlier identified $216 million worth of projects that have been delayed.
For unincorporated area residents and businesses, the county budget no longer would contain funding for law enforcement. Money for that service would flow directly to the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area.
Unincorporated areas from Magna to Olympus Cove would benefit from $5 million in one-time spending for capital projects such as installation of street lighting, curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
Salt Lake County's proposed 2012 budget includes funding for several new facilities:
Renovation of Capitol Theatre
Salt Lake Valley Health Department building
Millcreek Community Center
Draper Senior Center
A fleet maintenance building in Midvale
Source: Salt Lake County