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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ZAP Tax renewal on this November's ballot

Yesterday the Salt Lake County Council approved ballot language for the Zoo, Arts and Parks (ZAP) tax for the November election. Residents in the county will have an opportunity to vote on this tax.

When you pay sales tax, one penny for every $10 goes to ZAP, benefiting the community by providing grants to over 160 arts and cultural organizations as well as 30+ park and recreational facilities. Every age group has benefited from this initiative. The youth of the county have benefitted through more softball, baseball and soccer fields.  Seniors have benefitted through free performances by Heart and Soul. Families have benefited from free days at the Hogle Zoo, Discovery Gateway, Natural History Museum of Utah, and The Living Planet Aquarium.  Students benefit from educational outreach provided by the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera, Repertory Dance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and Tanner Dance.  Adults and children benefit from free screenings courtesy of Sundance Institute, Utah Film Center and Salt Lake Film Society.  Cultural diversity has been enhanced through free festivals like the Living Tradition Festival, Nihon Matsuri Festival, Utah Asian Festival, Chinese Moon Festival, and Celebration of Cultural Diversity Festival.

We have also seen 13 parks and trails funded from the Flight Park in Draper to Oquirrh Park in Kearns, the Jordan River Trail to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. In addition, 17 recreation centers have been funded in part by Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks, including Dimple Dell Recreation Center, Copperview Recreation Center, Magna Swimming Pool and the Gene Fullmer Recreation Center.

Over 7.3 million people benefited from an arts or cultural activity, event or performance, offered by a ZAP recipient. Over 24,000 people volunteer for a ZAP funded organization. Salt Lake County ZAP funded organizations provided over 20,000 education events. Over 3.8 million people receive FREE admission to an arts or cultural event funded by ZAP.

ZAP funded organizations are major contributors to Salt Lake County’s Economic Development with total expenditures over $67 million and over 2,000 paid employees.

Voters have twice overwhelmingly approved the ZAP initiative and it will be up for renewal in 2016, which is why you will see it on the ballot this November.

Located midpoint in Salt Lake County, Council District 3 has local projects that have received funding. ZAP has funded the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City. The Utah Cultural Celebration Center has brought thousands of people into the district. This organization works creatively and diligently to enhance the arts and culture for West Valley City and the entire region.  Utah Cultural Celebration activities support our vast heritage and human diversity through educational experiences. ZAP has also funded the Hale Centre Theatre, Taylorsville Arts Council, Murray City Cultural Arts, the Phoenix Jazz and Swing Band, Vista Ball Diamonds, Valley Regional Park and more!

Here's a story by KUTV2's Rod Decker about ZAP:  Don't zap the ZAP tax asks Mayor McAdams |

Friday, June 20, 2014

Protecting the Jordan River

Salt Lake County is pleased to have been a leader in preservation and enhancement of the 50-mile Jordan River corridor for 30 years, starting in 1971 with the development of a visioning document for the river corridor called, Jordan River Parkway: An Alternative. This document suggested the creation of a linear parkway spanning from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake, with nature preserves and a paved trail system as the centerpiece.

Since that time, the County has continued to lead - acquiring and permanently protecting open space along the river, building trail segments, completing bank stabilization and restoration projects, and planning for watershed protection. In 2007 the County headed up the development of the Blueprint Jordan, an updated regional vision for the river corridor.

The Blueprint Jordan River was developed through a collaborative process lead by Envision Utah.  The document captures the collective imagination of over 3,000 residents and outlines an aspirational vision for the river corridor that includes open space preservation, expanded recreational opportunities, environmental education, better community connections, and a series of river centers - responsibly developed nodes that embrace and celebrate the river. This visioning process spurred the creation of the Jordan River Commission, a voluntary collaboration of cities and counties along the river corridor, which is now working to facilitate implementation of the Blueprint.

I am pleased to represent the County Council on the Governing Board of the Jordan River Commission. Last month my colleagues, Councilman Jim Bradley and Richard Snelgrove, and I encouraged the County Council to pass a resolution reaffirming the County’s commitment to implement the goals of the Blueprint Jordan River. This resolution was approved. One key element of this resolution is a pledge by the County Council to decline financial participation in any redevelopment or economic development projects within the river corridor that do not adhere to the guiding principles of the Blueprint Jordan River. With this legislation, the County continues to lead the region in river corridor protection and we are working with cities along the river to encourage their preservation of the precious remaining open space along the river.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Trash Talkin' - Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District

Salt Lake County used to have a sanitation district which was responsible for all waste collections in unincorporated Salt Lake County and even contracted with several cities. In order to bring control of garbage and recycling pick-up closer to the people, the County Council and District Board decided to have this district become its own entity on January 1, 2013.

Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District is the new name of the sanitation district. Cities and townships serviced now have ultimate authority regarding their sanitation needs and are served by the Administrative Control Board.  This board is made up of elected officials from participating cities and Salt Lake County. I serve as one of three county council members on this board.

The mission of Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District is to provide sustainable integrated waste and recycling collection services for the health and safety of our community. As a government entity, Wasatch Front Waste is a non-profit. Areas served include unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County and the cities of Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Herriman, and a portion of Murray. We boast world class customer service with a 97 percent overall satisfaction score among our customers.

There is approximately 144,000 tons of waste generated annually by the 81,000 homes that we are responsible to collect and haul. We provide a variety of ways to collect and haul this waste including weekly curbside waste and recycling collections. Not every city has weekly recycling pick up, but we believe the more we encourage recycling, the more it saves the environment and our pocketbooks.

Recently Wasatch Front Waste rolled out a green waste program. With this program you pay a little extra ($114 annual fee and $60 start-up fee), but you get a vented green can and weekly pick-up. The waste is then composted and saves landfill costs. Sign up now!

In addition to these great services, Wasatch Front Waste also has a fall leaf pick up, Christmas tree pick up, annual dumpster clean up program, and trailer rental program.

Want to find out who picks up your trash and recycling?? Plug in your address in at the top of this page to get the info.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Salt Lake County's Form of Government

Salt Lake County’s government is different than most of the other counties around the state. Most counties have a commission form of government with three commissioners who act as the executive and legislative branch for their county. 

Up until 1998 Salt Lake County had a Commission form of government. An election by the people changed the form of government from commission to mayor-council form. In 2000, a council and mayor were elected, and the new form of government was operational Jan. 1, 2001. 

The County Council is made up of nine members, currently five Republicans and four Democrats, with six districted council members and three at-large council members. The six representing districts are elected to four-year terms in staggered elections and at-large candidates are elected to six-year terms. You can find out more about my colleagues.

While the County Mayor handles the day-to-day operations and executive decisions of the County, the policy and legislation comes from the Council. Arguably the most important job of the Council is to pass a balanced budget. At the end of the year the Mayor’s office will propose a budget. The Council works through those budget recommendations and, after weeks of review and revision, adopts the budget for the next year. The Council also passes other legislation to amend ordinances and county policies. 

For more information on the responsibilities of the County Council, click here and for more information on the structure of the county government, click here.