Salt Lake County mayor again prioritizes Oxbow Jail, public safety in 2019 budget proposal

SALT LAKE CITY — Amid the warmth of his tight congressional race towards Rep. Mia Love, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams on Tuesday introduced his 2019 price range proposal with new cash for public security, however and not using a tax improve.

McAdams referred to as his proposal “structurally balanced,” “fiscally sound,” and one which prioritizes public safety, “a core duty to the individuals we serve.”

The $1.5 billion plan, subject to approval by the Salt Lake County Council, included a renewed dedication of a further $1.three million to completely fund the opening of Oxbow Jail, in addition to the $7.4 million funded by the county final yr.

The mayor also proposed $3.4 million to assist Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera rent and retain public safety officers — a problem the sheriff has struggled with lately. Earlier this yr, Oxbow wasn’t on monitor to completely open because the sheriff confronted staffing shortages as a result of problem competing with different businesses providing greater pay.

The $3.four million would include a 2.75 % pay improve to help improve retention and handle “pay compression” points, the place a small pay distinction exists between staff despite larger expertise or expertise, McAdams stated.

“At this time, we face a new problem,” McAdams stated. “Though fiscal discipline and dedication from Sheriff Rivera, council members and state partners has created a monetary method ahead to opening extra jail area, what we now want are employees to work there.”

The Oxbow Jail is designed to handle misdemeanor offenders. It was mothballed years in the past after the opening of the brand new Salt Lake County Jail, but was partially reopened in 2009 amid an overcrowding disaster.

Now, dealing with more overcrowding, Salt Lake County leaders have been trying to absolutely open all 552 of Oxbow’s jail beds. Regardless that McAdams referred to as for a full opening in his 2018 finances proposal, 184 beds as of July cannot be used as a result of staffing issues, Rivera stated.

Of McAdams’ proposal this yr, Rivera stated, “it isn’t every thing, but we’re proud of what we did get.”

“There was quite a bit we needed to minimize out,” the sheriff stated, “but that is the precedence, and I really really feel like we now have to compensate the individuals which might be here as a result of we maintain dropping individuals.”

Rivera stated she had also asked for more command employees positions, but she understood that coping with the pay compression points had to come first. Lately, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office had 114 open positions. Of those, 48 have up to now been crammed, Rivera stated, however “we’re nonetheless down quite a bit,” by about eighty spots.

With the new funding, Rivera hopes the remaining Oxbow beds might be open someday subsequent yr.

To fund the new public security money, McAdams proposed to chop $200,000 from the county authorities middle security operating hours, which means the constructing will not function 24/7, however as an alternative close late at night time and open early within the morning — a change McAdams stated individuals doubtless will not…

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