Mayor Emphasizes Sustainability in Budget Speech
Last night, Mayor Jackie Biskupski presented her 2016-2017 Salt Lake City Budget to the City Council and reemphasized her commitment to improve air quality and protect our natural resources.
Sustainability highlights include:
- Elevating the Office of Sustainability
The Mayor has proposed to elevate the Sustainability Division to a full department.
“Our natural resources and the quality of air we breathe are top priorities for Salt Lake City residents,” said Mayor Biskupski.
“Because the Office of Sustainability is appropriately staffed and financed by the city’s Refuse Enterprise Fund, this change will have limited impact on the general fund.”
- Greening the City’s Fleet
The Mayor has committed to developing a long-term strategic plan for replacing the City’s aging fleet with cleaner, greener models, and emphasized “this plan will also include significant guidance from my proposed Department of Sustainability to ensure the new vehicles we purchase are the most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly of each model type.”
In her proposed budget, Mayor Biskupski has allocated $250,000 from realized fuel cost savings to replace some of our aging vehicles.
- Incentivizing Clean Renewable Energy
Mayor Biskupski expressed concern that high permit fees for residential solar installation projects are creating unnecessary barriers to residents who want to have cleaner, renewable energy. The proposed budget includes a suspension of the city’s solar permit fee. This suspension is in line with the goals of the new Department of Sustainability, and will make it more cost effective for homeowners to install solar panels.
- Improving Accessibility around the City
Mayor Biskupski feels that as the Crossroads of the West, it is important that Salt Lake City invests in its aging infrastructure and increase accessibility. Mayor Biskupski has proposed, “… $300,000 in funding for a needed traffic light timing calibration, bus stop improvements, pavement overlays, ADA improvements, and sidewalk rehabilitation will help all of us move around our city more easily.”
Mayor Biskupski wrapped up her presentation by stressing, “Before you is a fiscally responsible budget which cares for our city employees, begins to address long-term problems, and finds funding for programs important to our identity as a city. A city for everyone.”