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The City Journals

South Salt Lake avoids budget standoff

Jun 18, 2019 01:54PM ● By Bill Hardesty

South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood and Director of Finance Kyle Kershaw present their proposed fiscal year 2019-2020 budget to the city council on May 8. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

In a surprise move on June 13, Mayor Cherie Wood announced she approved all the passed budgets from the city council meeting on June 12.

“The city has a legal obligation to approve a budget by June 30 and I don’t want to put our city at risk with a possible stand-off. As such, I have approved all fund budgets as presented and passed last evening at the City Council Meeting. I assure you we will continue to provide the best level of service possible with the funds allocated,” she said in a prepared statement.

The statement also said, “Every year, the City Council and I come together to assess the city’s needs and budget priorities. In any city, it is common for a council and mayor to begin with different ideas about balancing a budget, but usually the two can come to a compromise for the benefit of the residents.

“But last evening, despite dozens of committed staff members and engaged residents sharing their opinions and concerns – most of whom requested consideration of my budget proposal – the majority of the City Council made it clear that they are unwilling to compromise and seek sustainable funding options for our city. I remain convinced that the budget they approved last night is not sustainable and leads South Salt Lake down a path fraught with problems. Resident comments and staff concerns were not listened to and quite frankly, dismissed even before they were stated.”

The statement concluded with this promise. “But I want our residents and city employees to know that I’ve heard you. I know that you desire stability and long-term solutions. There is work to be done and we need to get to it. The ideals of civility, discussion, compromise and real solutions are needed in our community – now more than ever.”

The mayor’s actions results in no property tax increase, cuts across all departments, approved certified tax rate, and a 3% pay increase for all employees except first responders. They will receive a 9% cost of living adjustment and have a 4% merit pool.

Look for your copy of the South Salt Lake Journal July edition for more information on the budget saga.