City Council votes 7-0 to increase city staff
Apr 13, 2020 02:33PM
By Bill Hardesty
The South Salt Lake City Council approved on a 7-0 vote a $889,000 budget amendment. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)
By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]
At their Feb. 26 meeting, the South Salt Lake City Council passed another budget amendment. This budget amendment provided increases to the General Fund and to the Capital Fund.
In December of last year, the council passed a budget amendment providing a Salary Market Adjustment for some public safety staff.
The amendment called for $320,000 of the Building Permit Fees account to pay for three budget requests.
New hires and funding
The major request is to hire five additional employees. Two engineers and two building inspectors and a Homeless Outreach & Strategies Director in the mayor’s office.
In addition, the amendment provided funds to fully fund three current positions in the Community Development Department.
City staff made the request for the new engineers and community development employees to handle current and future community development projects.
The Homeless Outreach and Strategies Director will provide a point of contact for all homeless issues and resources. This was a suggestion by the Federal Homeless Czar during his recent visit. During the March 11 City Council meeting, Lindsey Edwards was given advise and consent approval for this new position.
At the same meeting, Christy Dahlberg was appointed to the Planning Commission for District 1.
Shane Siwik, District 5, provide some initial opposition to the amendment. He voiced concern about adding eight new employees mid-year and committing money for fiscal year 2021 before budget discussions.
“I can’t buy off all of it,” Siwik said.
Sharla Bynum, District 3, replied, “This year is the year we trust our employees and give them the tools they need.”
Some members pointed out that these requests were made last June but were cut in the budget.
Ray deWolfe, Councilmember at-large, said he was prepared to approve the amendment because, “it is an income generator. We need to stoke the fire.”
Corey Thomas, District 2, also voiced some concern about the large amount and reminded members they need to take care of our non-sworn, meaning non-police or firefighters, employees.
Noting that sales tax is up 9% and a forecast that building permits will continue to increase, the city staff argued that all the employee requests are needed for building permit workflow.
“We can’t keep up,” said Dennis Pay, city engineer.
In the end, Thomas and Siwik were comfortable that these positions are revenue generating positions. The budget amendment passed 7-0.
$40,000 of the $320,000 was approved to support efforts for an accurate count for Census 2020. In an additional article in this issue, the city’s reasons and efforts are told. The city did receive a $5,000 state grant to help with the census outreach.
As part of updating the General Plan for the city, SSL will conduct a citywide survey. The “Listening to Our Community for Effective Planning” initiative will use a variety of methods to hear from the public. This initiative is projected to cost $50,000.
Currently, there is no start date, the survey will take six weeks to gather comments and analyze the data.
$105,000 of sales tax revenue was transferred to the Capital Fund to pay for new vehicles for the new employees.
In addition, Federal JAG Grant revenue of $29,000 for police equipment was put on the books.
$110,000 from Park Impact fees and $325,000 from a Salt Lake County grant was posted to pay for the new Columbus Park, north of the Columbus Center.