Peter Corroon says his legacy is restoring public trust in county government

Published: Sunday, Dec. 23 2012 7:20 p.m. MST

In 2012, Corroon presented the council a pared down $47 million proposal, which the council voted unanimously to place on the November ballot. It passed handily.

County Councilman Steve DeBry, a Republican, said Corroon is "a consummate professional" who brought intellect and integrity to the office.

But he is also politically shrewd, DeBry said. For example, Corroon did not present his proposed budget — which required a 16.2 percent property tax increase — to the council until after the November election.

"I think in his heart of hearts, he knew the park bond probably wouldn't pass with the fallout of a tax increase so he chose to fall back. He didn't do it out of malice," he said.

The decision to raise taxes, the first property tax increase by Salt Lake County in 11 years, was "gut wrenching" for Corroon, Dunn said.

"He does think about families that are struggling. He's very fiscally prudent in his own life," she said.

Republican County Councilman Richard Snelgrove said the county could have continued to rein in its spending even more. "I've felt this is not the right time given the current economic climate," said Snelgrove, a frequent critic of Corroon.

The alternatives, Corroon said, were closing libraries, recreational centers, not having enough prosecutors and eliminating jail beds.

"I don't like a tax increase any more than anyone else. I wasn't going to leave our government in a mess," he said.

In the end, Corroon said he applied the same decision-making process over the budget that he has used throughout his eight years in elected office.

He asks simply, "What's the right thing to do?

"When I've had difficult decisions to make, it's been pretty illuminating how easy it is to ask yourself that question."

E-mail: marjorie@desnews.com

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