Deck city halls with boughs of holly, decorate a Christmas tree and maybe string up a few lights and candy canes along the town's main road, but watch the budget.
In the past, most of the smaller communities along the Wasatch Front have relied on volunteer efforts from employees and civic groups for their community Christmas decorations, but an increasing number of them now include contributions to those projects in their city budgets.Salt Lake City - Downtown Main Street is and is likely to remain the "showcase" of the public decorating efforts, featuring an extravagant display of lights and tinsel that is financed by area businesses and a comparatively generous government allocation.
Mayoral aide Jill Remington said the downtown decorations are supported by the Central Business Improvement District, which operates on a $125,000 annual budget. Some of the money is used for other seasonal activities.
The city's role is limited to putting up the decorations, which costs about $23,000 in personnel and equipment, and replacing burned out and missing bulbs, which this year cost $5,000.
A large number of the 25-cent bulbs are stolen each year, district officials said. Another problem this year involves overloaded electrical circuits caused by too many lights per line.
Bountiful - The city purchased $25,000 worth of decorations last year as part of its million-dollar downtown restoration project, said City Manager Tom Hardy. The new decorations are expected to last 10 years, requiring only small maintenance expenditures from future budgets. City power department crews install the decorations.
West Valley City - For the first time in its 10-year history, West Valley has appropriated money from its budget for a holiday display. The City Council approved the expenditure of $1,500, which was used to put up a 22-foot community Christmas tree in the City Hall atrium and to fill the surrounding area with poinsettias and wreaths.
Janet Trueblood, assistant to the city manager, said the tree has been decorated with ornaments made by city employees over the past nine years.
The West Valley City Council may appropriate additional funds each year to augment the community decorations program, Trueblood said.
"We hope to build on it each year," she said. "As the Market Street Center area grows, we hope someday to have a more extensive outdoor display along the roads leading to City Hall."
South Salt Lake - The Christmas trees in front of the new City Hall were donated and put up by the Lions Club.
Sandy - The city's only Christmas decorations are a large tree outside City Hall and an artificial tree in the foyer. No money was spent this year on street decorations.
Murray - Downtown lights and decorations at City Hall cost about $4,500, which is about as much as the city spends annually for holiday displays.
Midvale - Community decorations were purchased five years ago, and the city spends about $300 per year to maintain them. The displays are concentrated in the Old Town area and Center Street from Main to just below State.
Draper - The holiday display includes a Christmas tree on the City Hall lawn and some lighted decorations on telephone poles in the center of town. The items were purchased last year, and no additional money was spent this year.
West Jordan - A scene of lighted carolers in front of City Hall and some street lights are the city's contribution to the holiday display, which cost about $2,000. Officials said they would like to see the program expanded in future years.
South Jordan - A committee may be formed next year to study options for holiday decorations in South Jordan, which this year are limited to a Christmas tree and some civic proj-ects.