Salt Lake County employees will get a pay raise next year and work will start on a new minimum security jail - but the county's 1989 property tax rate on homes and businesses will remain at this year's level.
Those tentative - but apparently firm - decisions came out of a daylong session Friday during which county commissioners all but wrapped up work on the county's 1989 budget.Budget analysts will make final calculations on the revenue and spending plan before commissioners meet again Saturday for a last examination of the tentative budget.
A public hearing on the 1989 budget is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the commission chambers of the county government center at 2001 S. State. A vote on adoption is scheduled for Dec. 15.
The 1989 budget's bottom line won't be known until Saturday after analysts have completed their number crunching, but the total is expected to balance at slightly less than the 1988 budget figure of $231 million.
Commissioners spent Friday making cuts of between $3 million and $4 million in departmental spending requests for next year. But one thing not cut from the tentative budget was a $4 million pay raise and benefit package for employees.
The major components include a 4 percent merit raise for county workers who meet or exceed average performance standards and a $2.1 million funding of the expected jump in the cost of employee health insurance premiums.
More than 80 percent of the county's 2,850 employees are anticipated to qualify for the merit raises, which will cost a total of $1.6 million. Commissioners also funded a bonus pay plan and a slight upward adjustment of the county pay scale.
Next year's tax revenues are projected to remain constant at the 1988 figure of $99 million. Tax revenues that pay for municipal services provided to the 285,000 residents of unincorporated Salt Lake County will actually go down in 1989, but that decrease will be offset by a slight increase in revenues that fund countywide services.
Included in the 1989 budget is about $1 million to pay for beginning work on a 350-bed jail for misdemeanor offenders, and for remodeling of a portion of the Metropolitan Hall of Justice to provide 100 new jail beds for low-risk inmates.
The $8 million jail won't be ready to house prisoners until 1991. But commissioners hope the remodeling of space recently vacated by the Salt Lake City Police Department will provide enough jail beds in the interim to relieve overcrowding pressure on the 540-bed Metro Hall jail.
The jail appropriation includes $35,000 to pay for a special bond election commissioners will call sometime next year. The county will ask voters to approve a general obligation bond issue - and a tax increase necessary to repay the bonds _ as the cheapest way to finance the new jail, projected to cost $1 million annually for 10 years.
Some good news for taxpayers is that the tentative 1989 budget keeps the county's five-year budget plan of no tax rate increases - except those voted by the public - on track.
The five-year plan figures county spending over that period will increase annually only by the amount of additional tax revenue generated through new growth. Exceptions will be made for any tax increase voted by the public.