About the Council The legislative body has a nine-member Council with three council members elected at-large and six elected by district. Council members from districts are elected for four-year staggered terms in partisan elections. At-large council terms are six years. Council districts are reapportioned after each census. The legislative Council's authority includes: The power to consider and adopt ordinances, rules, and regulations. Consider and adopt an administrative code, policies, and procedures. Adopt rules governing the activities, meetings, and organization of the Council. Establish and adopt a budget, set and levy taxes, and establish fees. Fix the salaries of county officers and employees. Supervise internal audits and investigations. Conduct quasi-judicial hearings including serving as the Board of Equalization and final board of review regarding planning and zoning. Advise and consent to appointments by the executive branch. Override vetoes of the Executive by two-thirds vote. Supervise the conduct of county officers in accordance with state statute. Reapportion districts after each census. Divide the County into precincts and other districts as provided by law. Fill vacancies. Grant franchises. Provide for the development of County resources. Perform other legislative acts.
Salt Lake County is facing a potential $60 million revenue shortfall. I spent 30 years in State government, and periodically we had budget shortfalls that required an across the board government solution. All departments had to share some of the cuts so that no one department shouldered the entire burden. We should take a similar approach in the County, and all departments will have to share in the budget deficit. We must look at all departments and ensure that they are running efficiently and effectively for their constituents. As for the voting machines, we are at a pivotal point in our electoral process and we must enhance the integrity of our systems. We need to make sure that we are evaluating the overall need due to more mail in voting, but election integrity is a top priority. Finally, I do not think that we should put the deficit on the shoulders of the citizens. We need to do as companies have done and become more efficient.
This is a very complicated challenge for our County. We are at a crisis point for this issue. The County must lead and bring all municipalities together to ensure that each area is taking a piece of the high density housing which is necessary for our young families that want to live in Salt Lake County. It should not fall on any one community. We do not solve an issue like this without collaboration from all cities and townships. Growth is an important part of our community and economy and we have to find a way to make it livable and viable for everyone. We need to also look at some of our worn down or vacant areas and see if there is a redevelopment solution without causing gentrification. We must come at the crisis from every angle.
This is an area that I am heavily invested in. It is personal to me as I lost my father this year to emphysema and there were many days he could not go outside due to the poor air quality. This is going to require some "bold" ideas. We need to incentivize new car buyers to look at fuel efficient options. We need to educate our citizens on the benefits of Tier 3 gasoline. We need to find a way to incentivize citizens that will put solar panels on their homes. We must ensure that the County leads with solar on our buildings and replacing aging fleet vehicles with fuel efficient options. Finally, we need to be realistic about the inland port and work to limit the impact that it will have on our area.
There is a lot that we can do with this issue. We can ensure that we provide the resources to our at risk communities through the Salt Lake County Behavioral Health Services. We need to expand the services and address these issues head on. Access to services is paramount. We can address mental health and addiction problems early on by partnering with our school districts to ensure that they are able to support our children by adding counselors and supports networks.
Due to the Covid-19 economic slowdown, the County revenue is expected to be off by as much as $92,000,000. The tax increase that was proposed by Mayor Jenny Wilson and approved by the County Council by a 7-2 vote goes into effect this year. Taxpayers are not in a position to accept another tax increase to make up for this shortfall in revenue. Salt Lake County leadership must look for cuts and efficiencies while seeking to maintain essential services. The purchase of 300 new voting machines must be delayed at this time.
As the population grows we will need a RESPONSIBLE PLAN that balances infrastructure, transportation, traffic, air quality, open space and sustainability. The County does not have a plan that addresses all of these issues. I would like to focus on affordable housing, we continue to see more building throughout the valley but unfortunately most of these properties are not affordable to families just starting out. The use of auxiliary dwelling units could be a partial solution. The Olympia Hills development has great intentions and yes it would provide more housing options, the concern I have is infrastructure, traffic and sustainability. The plan was approved before the Southwest visioning study was complete, leaving these important issues to chance.
The good news is that air quality, as measured by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Quality shows that each year air quality keeps improving. Air quality in 2019 was the cleanest it's been in 50 years. However, that's not good enough and we can and must do better to have even cleaner air. The availability of Tier 3 gas is a step in the right direction.
I have already been connecting with Project Empathy to learn more about these challenges and how the County can do better to address these concerns. What I have found, is there is too much confusion for many to navigate the daunting challenge of actually using the services being provided. There are not enough caseworkers that can reach out and assist each individual, which means we need the help of organizations like Project Empathy. I would like to collaborate with community organizations that are already out in the
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