A rare achievement may have been recorded in Utah's second largest city with plans for construction of the new West Valley City Hall and Circuit Court offices.
Before construction even begins, citizens won't have to worry about property tax increases or other levies to pay for the new $8.1 million structure, for which a groundbreak-ing was held Tuesday.The building, which will be located on a 4.8-acre site at 3600 S. Constitution, is already paid for. Funds were set aside several years ago when city officials realized that present facilities weren't adequate to accommodate city operations.
"I don't know of any other place in the United States where this has been done," said City Manager John W. Newman, who conducted the program.
"We are one of the very few cities that did not bond to build our city hall. We have over the years saved enough money in the bank that we can pay for it in cash. There will be no increase in taxes or fees to support construction of this building. The foresight of council and its staff should be applauded for the type of effort made in setting the funds aside," said Mayor Brent F. Anderson, a speaker at the rites, where sandy loam was hauled in to permit him and other shovel bearers to dig in.
"I appreciate the dirt being hauled in. I've participated in a lot of groundbreakings, and (the rock-hard ground) looks like the hardest stuff I've ever seen in my life," Anderson said with a laugh during the event, attended by 150-200 people.
They included judges and elected and appointed officials from many city, county and state agencies throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Many brought young children, who also tried their hand with a shovel.
Other speakers besides Anderson and Newman were Associate Chief Justice Daniel I. Stewart of the Utah Supreme Court, Melinda Monahan of the State Court Administrator's office and Judge Tyrone E. Medley of the West Valley Department of Fifth Circuit Court.
Monahan said the new facilities for the circuit court, which will occupy a 22,200-square-foot area of the three-story building, will fill a desperate need. "The West Valley Circuit Court has the fastest-growing case-load of any circuit court in the state," she said.
Medley, who was appointed to his post in 1984, said facilities in the pres-ent city hall are grossly inadequate.
The judge said there are some cases where defendants or other parties don't appear. "But it's important to realize that whether they appear, the court still has to handle a case file and make an appropriate entry. Just today alone, I counted a total of 137 cases. That is not every day. Tuesday is our worst day, but it's an example of how desperately we really need this new facility," Medley said.