Mayor proposes lowering parking meter increase, funding firefighters with revenue growth

KUTV City County Building 122116.JPG
Unanticipated revenue proposed to be used for funding firefighters. (File Photo: KUTV)

Additional funding released Monday from the Utah State Tax Commission has influenced Mayor Jackie Biskupski's budget recommendations to the Salt Lake City Council for the upcoming fiscal year.

Biskupski is proposing a reduction to the proposed 50 cent increase in parking meter rates since the city now has $876,352 in revenue growth it hadn't anticipated. The parking meter increase was influenced by decreasing revenue and changes in state law.

Biskupski said in a prepared statement:

While this is an issue we need to address, the extra revenue gives us some breathing room to implement the increase and engage the public to develop a more comprehensive plan.

The mayor is also proposing to use the revenue growth money to pay for six new SLC firefighters. The city council indicated at its Thursday work meeting its support for a plan to hire the new firefighters and increase training at a total cost of $289,000.

But the city council has funding for the firefighters and training paid from the city’s Funding Our Future sales-tax initiative. This fund was specifically set aside for affordable housing, transit, road repair, and neighborhood safety meaning, law enforcement efforts and the hiring of 50 additional police officers.

However, Biskupski is concerned with using the initiative money for firefighters as the city council proposes saying in a press release:

The council runs the risk of breaking trust with the public by funding things other than the priorities identified by residents. This proposal allows us to fund new firefighters while keeping our promise to the public.

The city is finalizing the fiscal year 2020 budget that must be adopted by before June 30th. Though the budget is currently with the city council, Biskupski said she hopes the councilors will consider her proposal.

Following the city council's approval, the mayor has 15 business days to sign the budget, veto, or have it go into effect without her signature.

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