Democratic Salt Lake County Commission candidates have labeled a Salt Palace credit-card surcharge on ticket purchases as an example of a leadership failure in the County Commission.

But Commissioner Bart Barker said the surcharge has been removed and would have been sooner except for administrative mix-ups and the resistance of the Salt Palace Fine Arts and Advisory Board.The future of the surcharge is still in question, Barker said, and will be discussed by the County Commission after receiving input from Spectacor, the newly-hired private management firm now running the Salt Palace.

Democrat Randy Horiuchi, who is running against Commissioner M. Tom Shimizu, and Democrat Jim Bradley, who is running against Barker, held a joint press conference Tuesday to condemn the 10 percent surcharge the Salt Palace box office has charged patrons who buy tickets with credit cards.

Salt Lake County taxpayers should be benefactors of the public facility and should not be victimized by a surcharge on ticket prices, Bradley said.

They cited a letter from Salt Lake County Treasurer Art Monson, also a Democrat, whose position is that the surcharge is excessive and violates merchant's agreements. Actual costs to the Salt Palace for credit card purchases amount to 2 percent and not 10, Horiuchi and Bradley said.