June 17, 2020 — As employees of Salt Lake City government, we are listening to community concerns. The events of the past few weeks have been challenging for our country, our community, and our City. We echo the words of City leaders like the Mayor and City Council, that we must all come together to intentionally address and dismantle the systemic oppression, discrimination, racism, and bigotry that exists in our City.
Last month, the Salt Lake City Housing and Neighborhood Development Division (HAND) hosted a Facebook Live about housing stability resources, including housing programs funded by Funding Our Future. You can rewatch this video on Facebook or YouTube. HAND also published COVID-19 housing resources.
Additionally last month, in response to COVID-19, the Funding Our Future housing application process was reopened to allow agencies the opportunity to apply or amend their original applications to assist with housing stability during this period.
This year’s City budget process resulted in thousands of people submitting comments, many specifically about the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) budget . During public comment, the City Council mainly heard a resounding ask to eliminate or reduce funding for the Police Department and use those dollars for other community needs. Council held multiple follow-up discussions on the proposed SLCPD budget informed by public input and community concerns about race, equity, and justice in relation to law enforcement policies, procedures, budget, and ordinances. More information about the recently approved budget is below.
Tune into the Facebook Live virtual open house on Salt Lake City’s 600/700 North Corridor —one of the city’s busiest and most important westside thoroughfares—happening Thursday June 18th at 10 am! Stretching from Interstate 15 to 2200 West, the corridor drives plenty of resident comment and concern about pedestrian safety, speeding, traffic, transit, neighborhood access and more. The study will inform locations for new bus transit stops ahead of the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) launch of frequent transit service on 600/700 North in 2021. You can take the study survey now, open online through June 30th.
Remember that UTA is here for essential trips, and that they are working hard to ensure safety on the system, including with the Frequent Transit Network.
Starting in 2022, Salt Lake City will reconstruct 200 South from 400 West to 900 East as part of the Funding Our Future bond. Take the project survey, it has been extended through June 30th! You can learn about the other bond-funded street reconstruction projects happening over the next two years by viewing the map here.
Increased pavement maintenance is also a part of the Funding Our Future improved streets critical need area. You can view the project pages for current streets surface treatment projects here. And stay tuned for a streets maintenance focused Facebook Live happening on July 2nd.
The City Council-approved $326 million general fund budget concentrates on public safety spending and future practices, continues street repair and other basic essential services, plus support for people and businesses affected by COVID-19. 2020 provided an unusual backdrop for this year’s budget discussions–it was to be expected during the ongoing worldwide pandemic, and the local earthquake in March. However, more recently, the critical national and community conversations on equity and policing have rightly changed the focus and budget considerations. Unprecedented public engagement about racism and policing led to follow-up review by the Council of the police budget, structure, procedures, and broader policy actions. You can learn more about the budget here.
“Our residents are calling on us to address racism and systemic inequities in Salt Lake City, and we hear them,” said Chris Wharton, City Council Chair. “We started in this budget process with a review of police budgeting, policy and future practices. It doesn’t end here. Working in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the public, this review will be ongoing and widening as we look to root out inequity in all the City’s public processes.”
As the National Urban League says, “Getting to a complete count this Census is critical for the Black community. For far too long our communities have been undercounted and left out of the allocation of federal dollars for roads, schools, and hospitals. COVID-19 has placed a strain on our families, but we are committed to ensuring that every person of color is counted this year.” Join the local Final Countdown Census Challenge, a friendly competition to ensure all of Salt Lake City residents are fairly and accurately counted in the 2020 Census. SLC needs to reach 69% or better to win! From June 1st – 30th, community members can participate by completing their 2020 Census and can track our city’s progress here.
Complete the Census now!
· Online at my2020census.gov
· By phone in English by dialing 844-330-2020 or Spanish at 844-468-2020. You’re also able to complete the census in 12 other languages.
· Some households may have received a paper questionnaire by mail. Even if you receive a paper questionnaire, you can still respond online at my2020census.gov.
Learn more at slc.gov/census/ and 2020census.gov.
Salt Lake City’s higher numbers of COVID-19 warrant a continuation of the ‘orange’ risk phase. You can still drop off donated cloth masks at City fire stations. Mayor Mendenhall is providing continuing guidance for our City during this time.