October 21, 2009
It got our attention when the Utah Taxpayers Association threw its support behind a $125 million bond issue for a new public safety complex in Salt Lake City back in September. That spoke volumes about the legitimate need to replace the inadequate 1950s-era structure at 315 E. 200 South that Howard Stephenson, president of the taxpayer group, has described as an “embarrassment to our community.”
He’s right. Salt Lake public safety workers deserve working conditions that enhance their ability to serve and protect the state’s capital city. Salt Lake voters should support their efforts by voting “Yes” on Proposition 1 on Tuesday, Nov. 3 (early voting already is under way).
The proposed $125 million bond would cover construction and equipment costs for an administrative building and a separate communications/emergency operations center. A final location for the complex has not yet been determined, although the preferred location appears to be the Barnes Bank Block, one block east of Library Square.
This bond will require a property tax increase of $75 a year for a home valued at approximately $261,000. This is a considerable commitment for city property owners, but unlike a number of bond issues Salt Lakers have approved in past years, public safety is a basic function of city government. This complex will serve the city’s fire, police and emergency response needs for decades to come. It is a necessary investment.