Friday, May 25, 2012

Council Update - 5/23/12 - UPD and Budget

By Cheryl Cottle

Salt Lake County Council Member Jim Bradley spoke regarding the Unified Police Department (UPD). He gave explanation regarding the UPD fee that was previously levied and clarified that the fee was only assessed in the unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County.  He confirmed that the fee was completely discontinued at the end of 2011  and will never be coming back.  Council Member Bradley also described the make-up of the UPD Board.  There are eight voting members, with three representatives from Salt Lake County and one from each of the participating municipalities (Midvale, Holladay, Herriman, Riverton and Taylorsville).  Representation is based on population and the County has three representatives because they cover the population in Kearns, Magna, and Millcreek.  He stressed that all participating cities have an equal part in the decision-making process of the UPD Board.
The Council began review of the tentative Budget for FY 2012-2013.  Chief Del Craig outlined his proposed budget for the Taylorsville Police Department and detailed specific changes from last year. It was noted that recent legislative mandates make it mandatory for cities to purchase e-ticketing software this year. The total amount requested for the Police Department budget is $8.2 million.  In addition to that amount, there are also requests for “Add Packages” that would fund two additional officers, one additional civilian, a fleet management program, and improvements needed to office space for the department.  Chief Craig suggested that all of these things are necessary for the City’s police department to move forward and function effectively.
The City Council Budget was discussed and cuts were made to the line items for studies and legal services.  The Council also removed the proposed 3% salary increases from the budget for all elected officials, department heads, and new employees who have worked for the City less than a year.
The Mayor’s Budget was reviewed and Mayor Wall addressed questions regarding line items in his budget.
Judge Michael Kwan outlined the budget for the Municipal Justice Court.  He projected that the Court will out perform the budget passed last year by $183,222.  This year’s proposed budget for the Court shows a projected “shortfall” of $242,264.  Judge Kwan observed that it costs approximately $9.69 per household each year to operate the Taylorsville Court.  He reviewed benefits that are provided by the Court and noted that the cost is a small premium to pay to ensure that citizens’ constitutional rights are protected. Judge Kwan stressed the need to make some market adjustments to court employee salaries in order to facilitate hiring and retaining competent employees.  Some Taylorsville Court Clerks are currently being paid below market value and good employees are being lost to other courts who offer higher wages.
The budget for Administration was thoroughly reviewed and questions were addressed regarding training costs, membership dues, legal services, and retirement contributions.  
A citizen comment period was held and citizens were invited to give their input on the proposed budget or other City matters.  Three citizens spoke in regard to the proposed budget. Concern was expressed over the proposed tax increase and restraint was encouraged. One citizen noted that he had learned a great deal about the budgeting process by listening to tonight’s discussion.

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