Salt Lake City on 'last notch' of financial belt, mayor says

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  • ApacheNaiche PINETOP, AZ
    April 28, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    Is anyone surprised by this? Salt Lake City is one of the most liberal cities in America.

  • Capsaicin Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2013 11:51 a.m.

    how bout capping retirement benefits at the same level as what private companies would? ...before we end up like california with 100's of billions of dollars in un-funded/under-funded pensions. americans need to re-think retirement. they should be contributing to the economy until the day they they are able to contribute. "retirement" is an oxymoron. are we really suggesting we should feed the bank accounts of millions of people who contribute nothing to the business, for the rest of their lives? I can think of couple of companies that do just that. 3M is one of them. You know why you pay $5 for a brick of sticky notes? You're paying for someones retirement. Same for Proctor and Gamble. Tide detergent and febreze are ridiculously overpriced because you're paying for someones retirement. I'm not saying what the threshold for retirement benefits should be. But companies, cities, counties, states and governments are sinking under the burden of unfunded retirement liabilities. And they refuse to re-negotiate the terms. Ralph hasn't done enough. They need to do just that. Renegotiate benefit packages.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    Gee Mayor, how much does it cost to build those hideous bike lanes in places that shouldn't have them, like California Ave.?

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    April 24, 2013 6:07 p.m.

    Property taxes may not have gone up, but what about the bonds we have to pay for? The soccer fields in the northwest (not built!), the Public Services Building, the Performing Arts Center? What about the other fees, like parking meters downtown, that have gone up? Why did the City build a new building for the snow plows? Why are there now twice as many planners when development has ground to a halt? Why did 20 employees from Community Development need to visit Vancouver?

    For those of you who are lamenting that the private sector could do a better job of fixing potholes, let me just say that this can't possibly be an expense for the City, because the potholes aren't being fixed. The streetlights aren't being repaired. I tried for 1.5 years to get someone to give me a bid on repairing the sidewalk in front of my house, and finally I got a bid. Potholes, streetlights, and sidewalks just aren't alluring enough for Becker or the City Council. Theaters, streetcars and bike lanes -- that's where it's at.

  • Beaver Native Garland, UT
    April 24, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    Commenting on some of the posts above, bike paths would be a good idea if enough people would use them, but they don't. As for sustainability is aimed at reducing pollution. I have two comments about sustainability. First, I see many of the same people who complain about the air quality in Utah fighting efforts to reduce air pollution. Most people agree that something needs to be done about the air along the Wasatch Front, but when it comes to spending money on efforts to lessen the problem, they balk. Second, many measures that are politically correct are not economically or environmentally wise, so care needs to taken as what programs to implement and how to implement them. If you want an example of an unwise sustainability program on the Federal level, you only have to look at the corn ethanol program that became politically correct during the 2008 election. It was unwise and the politicians who promoted it knew it was unwise, but it sounded good and they fooled many people. When you also consider the fuel used in farming the corn, more fuel is used in its production than is produced. Not a wise decision.

  • Beaver Native Garland, UT
    April 24, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    There is no such thing as a "last notch" when it comes to tightening budgets. If there are no more holes in a belt, you just get a leather punch and make a new one. In almost any large government organization there is a large amount of waste even when administrators tell you otherwise. It's called politicking. In today's economy, it's unconscionable to think about raising taxes. If all programs are truly running as lean as they can, it's time to prioritize and eliminate programs that have less priority.

  • Republicantthinkstraigh Anywhere but, Utah, Utah
    April 24, 2013 3:19 p.m.

    How bout let the voters decide? Ever thought of that. Just what we need, more conservatives forcing there beliefs on everyone else, well not here in SLC. People MOVE HERE to get away from the conservatives and I tell ya, it's a breath of fresh air if you ever lived south of Salt Lake County. Don't know much about north of the county. Keep it up SLC, great place to live.

  • Tilka PORTLAND, OR
    April 24, 2013 2:51 p.m.

    This says I am from Portland but I live in SLC. I agree with the majority of the comments here, especially Moabmom. SLC has spent a lot of money on pet projects that weren't needed. Did we really need to narrow some streets to put in bike paths? Did we really need new meters so we would look like Europe? Do we really need a low interest fund that loans money to "progressive" businesses that probably wouldn't get money from the real world?

    A good businessman could clean up the waste in 6 months. Time for the mainstream people to hit the polls and put in someone who can tighten the lose screws on the ship.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    April 24, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    @Dixie Independent: Actually privatizing some city services is not cheaper. The best, most economical, and longest lasting method to maintain streets is full depth, in place, recycling and a method that has been endorsed by the Federal Highway Administration since 1965. You use the materials you have already paid for to fix the roads. A city crew can do this themselves for around $.10 a foot/$.30 a square yard. A contractor will charge $7, $8, or more plus mobilization fees. Salt Lake City, St. George, Provo, Orem, and UDOT would all rather pay more to get less work done.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    Lets face it - SL City residents LOVE their high taxes. They continually vote for bonding, and electing officials that do nothing but RAISE taxes.

    "TRUTH" got it right. If the LDS Church weren't there to continually revitalize the downtown area, it would be a total "pit".

    I'm just glad I don't have to live there.

  • bricha lehi, ut
    April 24, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    because raising the taxes is ALWAYS works. I don't get this mentality lets raise taxes every few years until we are all paying our entire income to the gov. That will work!

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    There is a lesson to be learned here. Using federal monies for city salaries (fire fighters) results in surprise increases in base line budget items when they dry up. I would patronize the new arts center, but if it is not built I won't loose any sleep over it. Let a private corp build it and run it. Same with the dream of another large hotel, which no private entrepreneur is stepping up to build. I'm a senior citizen, older than dirt, but I can do without a lot of the feel good projects the city runs.

    As to parking, a movie and dinner downtown, has a $4 - $6 parking fee attached if street parking costs are added up. $4 will get me to Sandy, South Jordan, North Utah County or Davis county's movies and eateries, and with the added bonus of no pan handlers. Get a clue Ralph!

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    April 24, 2013 9:18 a.m.

    There's your answer, Mayor Becker. Read the above comments.
    One man's necessities are another man's luxuries.

  • Moabmom Moab, UT
    April 24, 2013 8:44 a.m.

    The last paragraph says it all "Becker touted the new bike share program, Public Safety Building, airport TRAX line and Utah Performing Arts Center as tributes to the city's commitment to progress even during recession years". Commitment to "progress" and "sustainable development" is the problem. Pretty much all requirements for any ICLEI,Ag21 city and designed to drain public funds. Ever wonder why any thing "sustainable" always costs more than regular construction and only benefit a few? The bicycle path/share stuff is a total waste of monies. LEED 'sustainable" building requirements cost more. TRAX costs more and takes monies from road maintenance,because eventually they want everyone out of private cars and on public transit. SLC office of "sustainability" layers more expensive requirements over all aspects of local gov't. Kick ICLEI out of SLC governing process and return to common sense governance not mindless spending to fulfill ICLEI requirements.As for the arts center, build it with private funds or don't build it at all. Taxpayer monies should not be used to fund entertainment. The public has had all the entertainment they can stomach watching our politicians dance to ICLEI's tune already.

  • TRUTH Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    The entire downtown has been mis managed for years under democratic mayorship. The only saving grace the city of SLC has had is the LDS Church.....could you even imagine what downtown would look like if all the church buildings and infrastructure were removed.......that's right.....another democratically controlled DETROIT!

  • raybies Layton, UT
    April 24, 2013 7:51 a.m.

    Ever heard of a leather punch? If there aren't enough notches in the belt, make more.

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    April 23, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    Sounds like Becker is running for Congress or something, where the attitude is that just because a politician wants something, the taxpayers must get stuck paying for it.

    Instead, Becker should take some lessons from the Republicans in the Utah Legislature, and balance his budget by cutting "nice to have" stuff.

    Even better, take some lessons from private business (Larry H. Miller, or Walmart, or any other money making outfit) and emulate their actions: don't waste money on stuff you don't need.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:49 p.m.

    Well, I know they continually raise the price of parking at the Salt Lake International Airport. I know they installed those fancy parking meters that take credit cards in downtown SLC where the cost of parking is getting to be exhorbitant. I know they can get rid of "politically correct" liberal spending they don't really need, such as all the fuss about becoming a bicycle city and having their own department of "sustainability." Those things just suck money out of the pot and never produce anything of real value. And I'm certain that many folks could give additional examples.

    Every mayor wants some new monument with his name on it; true story, regardless of the size of the city or town.

    Time to quit expanding, maybe even time to cut back some city services. Are you listening, SLC Council?

  • Dixie Independent St George, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    Consider privitizing some functions; ie. street maintenance, construction projects, street light maintenance, etc. Cities have found great savings by allowing contractors to do what public employees once did.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:03 p.m.

    Alan is correct. SLC simply cannot afford to engage in the same sort of entitlement spending that it has engaged in under Becker. This superfluous, duplicative arts center is just one in a long stream of examples. If Becker will not stop the hemmorraging before it is too late, the citizens must re-call him and replace him with competent leadership.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    The fundamental principle is: buy what you can afford and do not burden future generations with debt for something that is not essential. Our government officials must recognize the difference between nice to have and need to have.

  • Bomar22 Roberts, ID
    April 23, 2013 8:43 p.m.

    I disagree that All will benefit from a new performing arts center. First, only a small percentage of residents ever attend any kind of a performance. Second, there are already venues for such events, i.e. Kingsbury Hall, Capital Theater, Hale Theater and Abravenal Hall.
    Methinks that Ralph want's to leave a landmark to his credit and no doubt have his name on it. If the city is broke as he says, the Taj Mahal must be put on hold.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2013 7:22 p.m.

    If the city faces a financial crisis, how can it build a new performing arts center? I know such things are important and will improve the lives of all who reside in the city, but do such considerations trump the basic question of how to pay for it?