With the passage of HB 226, the 2011 Utah Legislature ended Salt Lake County’s ability to collect its police fee, and now the County must determine how to fill the hole when the revenue flow stops at the end of the year. The law allows the fee to continue through the end of 2012, but the County plans to end it this year.
Ironically, the fee was put in place last year because the Legislature refused to let the County (cities can and do) collect a franchise fee on utility bills in order to cover the law enforcement budget. During the time it was considered, democratic gubernatorial candidate and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon was in a nasty campaign battle against republican Governor Gary Herbert. There was some speculation in the republican legislature that imposing the fee could hurt Corroon. Now they’ve taken away his ability to collect it.
The unpopular fee’s demise will leave a $12 million hole in the County’s budget, and the County is looking to its 170,000 residents who were affected by the fee – those in unincorporated areas – to help come up with a solution.
During eight public meetings scheduled for June, they hope to find a solution. The Legislature didn’t provide any alternatives, leaving the choice between a cut in services and an increase in property taxes.
For a meeting near you, check this list of areas, dates and times. If you want to have a say – plan to attend.
- Big Cottonwood Canyon – Monday, June 13 at the Whitmore Library, 2197 East Fort Union Boulevard. 7-9 p.m.
- Copperton – Wednesday, June 15 at Bingham Canyon Lions Club, 320 Hillcrest Street. 6:30-8:30 p.m.
- Emigration Canyon – Tuesday, June 14 at Emigration Fire Station, 5025 East Emigration Canyon Road. 7-9 p.m.
- General Unincorporated Areas – Tuesday, June 21 at Salt Lake County Government Center, 2001 South State Street. 7-9 p.m.
- Kearns – Tuesday, June 7 at the Kearns Library, 5350 South 4220 West. 6-8 p.m.
- Magna – Thursday, June 16 at Webster Community Center, 8925 West 2700 South. 7-9 p.m.
- Millcreek – Wednesday, June 29 at the Salt Lake Christian Center, 4300 South 700 East. 7-9 p.m.
- Southeast Islands – Wednesday, June 8 at Peruvian Park Elementary, 1545 East 8425 South. 7-9 p.m.
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Source: Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake County, FOX13News, Associated Press