KUER Local News
5:04 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Elected Officials Deliberate 2013 County Budget

Elected officials responsible for a handful of Salt Lake County departments presented their budget needs to the county council this morning. Most of those executives, including the Salt Lake County Sheriff, District Attorney and Auditor say they’ll be hard-pressed to perform their required duties without an increase in tax revenue.

Last week, outgoing Mayor Peter Corroon unveiled his 2013 county budget proposal, which includes a 17.5% property tax increase to sustain current funding levels. Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gil says without additional revenue his office will have to lay off up to 40 employees. He told the council he cannot sustain the loss of any employees without significantly affecting the level of prosecution and legal services his office provides.

“Look, I’m a prosecutor," Gil says. "I go out and prosecute criminals. All I know is that if I don’t have the resources or the bodies to do it, I can’t do my job. This is not something that we can ignore any longer.”

Salt Lake County hasn't adjusted property taxes for inflation in more than a decade.

Republican Councilman Steve Debry says he’s not ready to vote for a tax increase, but if he does it will be a last resort.

“We’re trying to go through the process now to see what in fact we can do to mitigate it and we’re exhausting everything we need to, to see what we can do to hopefully not have this tax increase," Debry says. "Or if it’s the last resort that maybe it’s not as big as the mayor proposed.”

The Salt Lake County council will likely finalize the budget in early December.