Prioritizing public safety, criminal justice reform in the 2016 budget
I presented my 2016 proposed Salt Lake County budget to the County Council yesterday. Criminal justice reform is prioritized in the 2016 budget because the system we currently have is broken and costly. The balanced budget I presented supports my belief in
taking on tough issues and solving problems. It prioritizes the county’s core
responsibility – public safety. In this budget, we will re-dedicate proceeds from an existing jail bond tax
levy—passed by voters in 1995 to construct a new jail—to help address the
overcrowded jail and understaffed District Attorney’s office. The approximately
$9.4 million a year would be used to build a new Community Corrections Center,
as well as support several new Pay for Success initiatives that are designed to
reduce recidivism, address homelessness and work with low income mothers and
their children to gain a good start in life. My conviction is that we can limit the number
of new jail beds by finding the courage today to seize this opportunity to fund
immediate needs now, while figuring out how to interrupt the projected flow
into the criminal pipeline.
Building healthier communities throughout the Salt Lake Valley
This week I participated in two events that represent important milestones in ensuring Salt Lake County residents stay safe, healthy and active. First, I joined
Salt Lake County Health Department Director Gary Edwards and others as we broke ground on the new health clinic in West Jordan. Once the new clinic is open, residents living in and around West Jordan will be able to get their kids vaccinated and have access to other resources provided by our highly skilled Health Department staff.
Take a look at the Deseret News article that talks about the new clinic.
I also spoke at the grand opening event for the new
Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services' senior center in Midvale. The new senior center gives Midvale-area seniors access to healthy meals, fitness and art classes, and is a place they can call their own when visiting with friends. My promise to the seniors who will use the center, is the county will keep the lights on and the sidewalks cleared - but we need you to give life to the facility.
Earth Day Event With Kids
This Earth Day I attended the Salt Lake County Health Department's annual Earth Day event. For the event, the Health Department hosts several elementary school classes at the environmental health building in Murray where the kids participate in hands-on activities and learn how they each play a part in being kind to our planet. It was fun visiting with the kids and giving them a quick gardening lesson.
2015 State of the County
Today I delivered my 2015 State of the County address. One of the highlights from my speech is when I had the chance introduce Trista, a young mother who is a resident at the county's Youth Services' Milestone Traditional Living Program. Trista and her one-year-old daughter are examples of why our work matters. The decisions we make today, and how we make them - using data instead of guess work - have real consequences and effect real people. We must take the steps we need to today so we can secure the future of our choosing.
Improving Air Quality
I recently visited
Salt Lake County's Environmental Health building where vehicle emissions inspections are conducted, to announce a program that will take 60 high-polluting vehicles off the road. The Vehicle Repair Assistance Program repairs the cars of qualifying low-income residents who can't afford to make the repairs themselves. Program participant Summer Cox said that when her car failed the emissions test she was shocked to learn it was a high-polluter. Summer said that no one wants to contribute to our bad air, but that we all still need to get our jobs and get our kids where they need to be.
Making our air breathable is a big job that will only work if we all do our part. At Salt Lake County, our clean air strategy means that we incorporate clean air practices in everything we do - from building to energy efficient standards, to using clean fuel alternatives in our county fleet; and, more recently, our wood-burning restriction on yellow and red air days and the Vehicle Repair Assistance Program. It will take many solutions to solve our big air quality problem - and at Salt Lake County, we're doing our part.