"Austere" is the word South Jordan officials are using to describe the city's proposed 1991-92 budget.

City Administrator Richard Warne said the $1.7 million general fund will maintain most services at their present levels while accommodating some increases in programs specifically identified by the city's master plan and a recent citizen survey."These service increases will be accomplished without a property tax increase," he said, noting that South Jordan's certified tax rate has been declining since 1987.

Warne attributes the steady drop in the property tax rate to "inaccurate valuation estimates and administrative formulas" passed down by the state and Salt Lake County.

"The city should hold the line on taxes, but at the same time, the elected officials and residents need to be aware that the city cannot indefinitely sustain automatic certified property tax reductions each year. At some point, the City Council will have to return its certified property tax rate to its 1987 level."

Warne said despite the city's financial liabilities - due largely to a small commercial and industrial base - the long-term economic outlook is encouraging.

"The urban growth continues to move south from Salt Lake City, bringing additional commercial and industrial interest in the community," he said.

Also, South Jordan enjoys the highest household income in Utah, has a low crime rate and booming residential development, Warne added.

The general fund budget is 4.53 percent less than last year's, yet the city will manage to keep pace with needs by shifting some priorities, according to Warne. Money will be available for an additional public works employee and merit pay increases, he said.

In addition to the general fund expenditures, the city intends to spend $754,326 for capital projects, including:

- Resurfacing of 10550 South, 2950 West and 2700 West south of 10400 South.

- Reconstruction of Beckstead Estates subdivision streets.

- Storm drains on 10950 South and in Beckstead Estates.

- Sprinkler system and landscaping at the detention pond on Dunsinane Drive.

- New underground fuel storage tanks to bring the city into compliance with federal regulations.

- A joint beautification project with Sandy in the area of the 10600 South freeway interchange.

The city's $1,117,767 culinary water budget includes $720,000 in water purchases from the Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District and $262,500 for new water lines on 2700 West, 10950 South, 5600 West and the South Jordan Parkway.

A moratorium has been imposed on the drilling of new water wells in southwest Salt Lake County because of groundwater contamination. South Jordan, which emphasizes large residential lots, has responded with development of an extensive secondary water system.

The secondary water system budget of $147,000 will extend service to an area east of 4000 West in the Ashford Acres, Glenmoor Village Plat E and Van Otten Estates subdivisions.

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(Additional information)

South Jordan budget

1991-92 1990-91

General fund $1,700,000 $1,790,000

Other funds $2,450,000 $2,580,000

Where it goes:

(Selected expenditures) Police $416,977 $414,104

Fire $135,564 $168,050

Streets $363,353 $346,450

Where it comes from:

(Selected revenue sources)

Property taxes $431,286 $421,286

Sales taxes $385,000 $373,000

Fees $304,933 $252,433

Tax/fee hikes: none

Property tax: $109.44 on an$80,000 home

Public hearing: Tuesday, May 21, 8 p.m. at City Hall, 11175 S. Redwood Road