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SSL Mayor and City Council at odds over raises for first responders

(Stock photo)

SOUTH SALT LAKE – The political battle is brewing in South Salt Lake over how the city can give raises to first responders.  The mayor wants to pay police and firefighters more, as does the City Council, but both sides are explaining why they feel the proposals from the other side just aren’t feasible.

The mayor wants to make a 31 percent tax increase on some property, which she says would cost residents an extra six dollars a month.  Some council members say they won’t support it.  Mayor Cherie Wood was told by council members she should just cut a million dollars from her administrative budget.  Wood believes this goes against state code.

“A council in a council/mayor form of government may not interfere in any way of an executive officer’s performance of the officer’s duty,” she says.

Plus, she says her office has been making cuts, consistently.

Wood adds, “We’ve cut every year.  Every year, we’ve cut our line items.”

City councilman Shane Siwick believes there are still some contracts the city has with outside agencies that could be terminated, or some city positions that could be cut.  For instance, he named the Urban Designer as a possibility.

“That urban, designer… that position is basically to design parks.  That position alone draws $160 thousand from the city,” Siwick says.

Also, he believes the city should consider the possibility of contracting with agencies like the Unified Police Department or the Unified Fire Authority.

“If the numbers flush out, I think that’s an option we should look at,” Siwick says.

However, officials with South Salt Lake Fire say they don’t want that.  Chief Terry Addison says the council has looked into that in the past, and determined the best value was to remain a separate entity.