Mayor Becker Vetoes Property Tax Increase Passed by City Council

(KCPW News) Saying that it only addresses capital improvements, and that it burdens middle class families and businesses, Mayor Ralph Becker on Wednesday vetoed part of a budget package passed by the Salt Lake City Council.

On Tuesday, the council approved an $8 million property tax increase as part of a $221 million annual budget.

The mayor said that the “status-quo” budget he recommended to the council was a more thought-out approach.

“The council…approved a budget that raises property taxes, that pulled out many of the efficiencies that I had recommended, that didn’t address some other needs of the city and that added bureacratic barriers to us functioning as a city,” the Mayor said.

Council Chairman Kyle La Malfa was one of the majority who voted in favor of the measure.

He says that the tax increase was needed to maintain the city’s infrastructure, and that upkeep is cheaper than replacing the cities roads, fixtures and parks.

“We’re experiencing a lot of deferred maintenaince in our infrastructure and spending some money to make certain that our streets and parks are kept up to a minimum standard of maintenance will help prevent really expensive replacements in the future.”

The mayor has said he would like to consult with residents further to discuss services and how to address budgetary deficiencies.

La Malfa, meanwhile, says that the process for approving a budget mandates room for public commentary and that further delays would end up costing the city more.

If the property-tax increase is maintained, taxes on the average Salt Lake City home would increase by $67 per year.

The council can override the mayor’s veto and currently seems to have the votes to do so. That override could come as early as this Friday’s City Council meeting.