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The City Journals

Park pavilions and theater lead this year’s budget requests

Feb 10, 2020 02:52PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Events such as the Murray “Summer Lunch Concerts” and the Lions Club Independence Day breakfast will need to be temporarily relocated this summer since Murray Park Pavilion #1 won’t be reconstructed until fall. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Murray City Council will consider funding requests for the upcoming budget year, with some of the most significant capital requests being to fully fund the Murray Theater renovation and the replacement of Murray Park’s pavilions. The age of some park pavilions is over 50 years old, and their dilapidated condition prompted the city to tear them down last fall.

According to Finance and Administration Director Brenda Moore, “During the budget process for FY2020, the Parks and Recreation Department requested $3 million to remodel the Murray Theater. At the end of the budget process, $1 million was approved and is currently being spent to get the project started. Efforts are underway to secure donations for the project, and the county has awarded $3.5 million towards the renovation in response to our Tourism, Recreation, Culture & Convention (TRCC) fund application.” 

The Murray Journal reported in May 2018 that plans had been drawn up for renovating the 82-year-old theater. The city purchased the theater in 2015 after Salt Lake County decided to construct its mid-valley performing arts theater in Taylorsville rather than Murray’s proposed location at 4800 South and State Street. The city hopes to begin construction this year.

All five of Murray Park’s pavilions have been demolished. The city has already approved for the Murray City Parks and Recreation Department to proceed and receive bids on the project. Reconstruction of the pavilions is expected to begin in spring, except for the pavilion next to the Parks Department office building. That pavilion requires utility reconfiguration and possible expansion to include a playground and restroom.

“The Parks and Recreation Department also requested $1 million to replace three of the pavilions in Murray Park. Upon learning of the poor condition of the pavilions, the city council increased the budget to $2 million so that all five pavilions could be replaced,” Moore said.

Far and away, the largest budget item is salaries, including those of elected officials. Murray City Councilors receive an annual salary of $15,947, for a total budget of five city councilors at $77,485. Mayor Blair Camp’s salary is $118,518, plus an additional salary of $17,826.

“The mayor is a full-time employee and is eligible to participate in the URS retirement plan and the city’s health insurance,” Moore said. “Mayor Camp is a retired fire chief, and Murray City is not allowed to make retirement contributions for him. His salary has been adjusted by $17,826, which would normally have been paid into the retirement system.”

The city councilors are also eligible for health insurance and a retirement plan. Both mayor and city council receive cost-of-living adjustments; last budget year, it was a 2.7% increase, which all employees received for fiscal year 2020. Elected officials also receive stipends in addition to their salary. Each city councilor and the mayor receive a $780 cell phone allowance, or $65 per month.

Each city councilor also receives a stipend of $4,200 that is known as a “Council Allowance.” Last fiscal year, the city council approved a 40% increase to their allowance, per month per council member. The allowance has no specified restrictions on its use.

The mayor receives a specific stipend for a car allowance of $4,200, or $350 per month. The stipend is not part of the mayor’s $5,000 “travel and learning” budget, which includes travel for the mayor and his three staff members. The city council has a “travel and learning budget” of $33,000, or $6,600 per member.

More information regarding Murray City’s tentative budget can be found on the city’s Finance and Administration webpage: www.murray.utah.gov.