SALT LAKE CITY — Amid concerns from downtown business leaders and a fellow council member about specifically how a proposed sales tax hike’s revenue will be spent and bound in the future, Salt Lake City Council Chairwoman Erin Mendenhall confirmed she’ll be delaying the vote.

“I’ve decided to delay it until May 1,” Mendenhall told the Deseret News on Monday, the day before the Salt Lake City Council was previously scheduled to vote.

Her decision comes after fellow council member, Councilman Charlie Luke, requested the delay, raising concerns about how the sales tax hike’s roughly $33 million in new annual revenue would be prioritized for streets, police, transit and affordable housing, and how city leaders might be able to lock in the funds so future councils or administrations wouldn’t be able to spend the money on other things.

Downtown business leaders have also expressed concern about a lack of details for the funding.

“Before I can vote for these increases, I believe the City Council must be specific about how the money will be spent and take measures to ensure the new revenue will not be reappropriated to other future needs or priorities,” Luke wrote in a Facebook post late last week. “Since we don’t seem ready to explain or commit to that specifically, I cannot vote for the increases at this time.”

Luke said in an interview Monday that he wants city leaders to “learn from our past mistakes,” noting that after thecity raised property taxes nearly five years ago for infrastructure needs, the revenue was re-appropriated to other priorities a few years later.

“I don’t want us to make that same mistake again,” Luke said.

Mendenhall said the vote’s two-week delay will give the council time to discuss a more specific breakdown of how the 0.5 percent tax increase will be spent and how …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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