Salt Lake City approves record $448.5M budget targeting 'most pertinent needs'

Salt Lake City is seen on May 8. The Salt Lake City Council voted to approve the city's 2024 fiscal year budget on Tuesday.

Salt Lake City is seen on May 8. The Salt Lake City Council voted to approve the city's 2024 fiscal year budget on Tuesday. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)


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SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of Utah's capital city say they believe its new budget takes on the "most pertinent needs" in the city right now, such as affordable housing and homelessness.

Members of the Salt Lake City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a record $448.5 million budget for the 2024 fiscal year. The figure represents more than a 5% increase from the budget approved last year, though Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, who recommended a $444.5 million budget last month, explained that inflation is driving most of the monetary changes.

The money also represents only the general fund portion of Salt Lake City's finances. It includes $20 million in new affordable housing funding, including nearly $17 million coming from the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City. The city has spent $56 million on affordable housing altogether since 2020 prior to this year's budget discussions.

The council also agreed to set aside $500,000 for a sanctioned homeless campground grant program, in what members of the council are calling a "quick-turn homelessness response solution." The funds are set to be sent to a holding account first, though, as the council finalizes details on how the sanctioned campground will function.

"We're responding to the city's most pertinent needs through this budget. The lack of affordable housing and the lack of solutions for the unsheltered are evident, and through our funding decisions ... we are catalyzing significant progress on both fronts," said Salt Lake City Council Chairman Darin Mano in a statement after the vote.

Other changes include a 5% cost-of-living adjustment for all city employees, as well as the opening of more than 60 new jobs within general fund departments.

Future new employees include six new police officers and four new police Civilian Response Team employees, a new medical response team at the Salt Lake City International Airport, additional social workers for the Salt Lake City Fire Department's Community Health Access Team and a full-time worker to oversee a new air quality incentives program. The money for the latter was also sent to a holding account while the council finalizes the program.

The City Council also voted to fund more "quick-install" traffic calming measures and other road safety features, while also expanding its K-12 transit pass program to include parents or guardians of Salt Lake City School District students. The program, launched last year, initially gave passes to K-12 students, faculty and staff members at no additional cost.

While there were no property tax changes, the city also approved moving forward with an 18% increase in water utility fees, a 15% increase in sewer fees and a 10% increase in stormwater fees. The increase is set to be used to help the city pay for a new $800 million water treatment plant that was needed to keep up with new federal regulations. There's also a 10% increase in fees for streetlights in the new budget.

The entire budget is expected to be posted on the city's finance page at a later time. The 2024 fiscal year begins on July 1.

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Carter Williams is a reporter who covers general news, local government, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.

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