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Corroon reflects back on eight years in office

By Richard Piatt | Posted - Dec 11th, 2012 @ 8:57pm



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SALT LAKE CITY - Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon is about to move on after eight years in office.

He'll be remembered for a major fight with the Legislature over the Rio Tinto Stadium, for transforming a whole system of government and for ending his term by calling for the first countywide property tax increase in 12 years.

For eight years, Corroon walked into his county government building office at 7 a.m. or earlier, working until 7 p.m. - weekends too.

In his office, pictures of how his kids have grown, bookcases of gifts and memorabilia, hockey pucks, baseballs, pictures, hats, coins and bobblehead dolls.

"A lot of great things," said Corroon. "A lot of great memories."


It doesn't make me look good to ask for a tax increase at the end of my administration, but it was the right thing to do. At the end of the day, I ask myself what's the right thing to do and I try to do that.

–Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon


In 2004, his first big battle was funding for the Rio Tinto stadium. He rejected the Legislature's idea, and in turn, lawmakers took the county's portion of hotel taxes to pay the bill.

Corroon's priorities since then have been environmental, things like solar panels for the Salt Palace, creating trails and protecting open space.

"I think we've been able to accomplish everything we set out to accomplish," he said.

He's also worked to consolidate services like police, fire, animal control and courts.

"It doesn't make sense as our cities have grown to keep independent services," said Corroon. "We need to be working together."

Politically, he's run for higher offices like governor. A bulletin board of buttons tell the story. Each loss is a learning experience.

"I didn't win," said Corroon. "That's why it's a better experience after a couple of years."

His relationship with county workers is good, he says. His efforts to restore trust in county government after previous scandals is as ongoing as his battle with his weight - which he measures every week.

But an even bigger battle is over the county's $800-million budget. Hundreds of layoffs and 20-percent cuts a few years ago aren't enough now. He's asking for a tax increase.

"All the independent elected officials decided it was time for a tax increase," Corroon said. "I asked them for more cuts and they said no, we can't do it anymore."

He says he realizes this may not be a popular move, but he maintains it's in the county's best interest.

"It doesn't make me look good to ask for a tax increase at the end of my administration, but it was the right thing to do," he said. "At the end of the day, I ask myself what's the right thing to do and I try to do that."

In one of his final acts as county mayor, Corroon will travel from his second-floor office down to the first-floor council chamber for a hearing on his proposed tax increase.

He says he fully expects to be yelled at.

Richard Piatt

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