Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis warned in a newsletter to 4,000 neighborhood activists throughout the city that Salt Lake City "would be the hardest hit of any Utah community" if three tax initiatives pass.
"My own opinion should be clear by now. The tax limitation initiatives are simply not a good thing, neither for the state nor for Salt Lake City," DePaulis wrote in the Community Affairs News released Friday.DePaulis explained what he said would be the impact of the three initiatives - the property tax limitation initiative, the tax rollback initiative and the tuition tax credit initiative - should they pass in November.
"We would lose more than 13 percent of our general fund budget. That translates into the loss of approximately $13 million in the city's coffers,' DePaulis wrote.
DePaulis loaned perspective to the cuts by saying that this year's budget was $1.8 million less than last year's budget and forced cuts in "almost every department," the elimination of some programs and prevented city employees from getting raises.
"Now multiply these losses sixfold. That is what we will have to do if the tax limitation initiatives pass," he wrote.
City budget experts are currently huddling to draft an alternative budget accounting for necessary cuts if the initiatives pass. City Finance Director Lance Bateman said the alternative budget would be ready soon.
The budget team has developed guidelines for making the cuts and DePaulis listed in the letter the areas possibly to be affected by passage of the initiatives.
Although DePaulis has said public safety would be a priority and would be protected from serious cuts, he identified the police department and school crossing guards as areas where cuts possibly would be made.
DePaulis also wrote that fire stations would be closed if the initiatives passed.
Additionally, all capital improvement projects such as street upkeep would be in jeopardy. Some street lights would be turned off and city park budgets would suffer, he wrote.