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Poll: Most Salt Lake residents support funding new public safety building


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City residents will vote in two months on whether to build a new $125 million public safety building in Salt Lake; the ballot measure is called Proposition 1.

A new poll shows most citizens have heard about it, but those who oppose it worry about high taxes and the recession.

The poll was commissioned by the city and finds that most residents polled--90 percent--say they have heard about the bond proposition to replace the public safety building.

"It means that the education efforts that we've been investing in are working, and people know some details about it, which is great," said Helen Langan, senior advisor to Mayor Ralph Becker.

Sixty-eight percent of those polled say they'd vote for Proposition 1, which would OK $125 million in bonds for the new public safety complex. It would cost the owner of a $260,000 home about $6 a month, or $75 a year.

The building's shortcomings are easy to document. For example, an evidence room is frequently exposed to sewage leaks and water damage.

"We have to come through and traipse through the urine water and get these boxes out, as well as clean it up. It's pretty disgusting," said evidence technician Haley Takoch.

The building also has broken windows that are difficult to repair due to unusual aluminum overhangs outside, and an antiquated elevator system, running on 1950s equipment, that requires a repairman a couple of times a week and has a legendary reputation for getting people stuck.

"A couple of our SWAT officers had a suspect in handcuffs and got stuck in the elevator. They had to open the hatch, un-cuff the suspect, help him up through the hatch, open the doors to the next door and re-cuff him on the other side," said Salt Lake City police spokeswoman Lara Jones.

Maintenance, operation and utility costs are roughly $650,000 a year--70 percent higher than similar buildings

The poll echoes those concerns. Topping the list: earthquake safety and those balky elevators.

To this point, there is no organized opposition to the project. If the measure passes, it'll take two to four years to build.

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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John Daley

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