December 1, 2020
Salt Lake County Council to Finalize 2021 Budget
Salt Lake County, UT – Tonight at 6:00 p.m., the Salt Lake County Council is expected to adopt a County budget for the year 2021. Mayor Jenny Wilson presented the Council with a balanced budget last month. The budget is strong and preserves essential services, without a tax increase, during a time of need for so many who rely on Salt Lake County services. Mayor Wilson said, “While 2020 has been challenging, as it comes to an end, Salt Lake County is in a strong fiscal position, much stronger than the County anticipated back in the Spring. In fact, our revenue projections are uniquely strong in comparison to other counties across the country.”
The County’s financial health is excellent today thanks to the ingenuity, commitment, and
dedication of our top-notch finance team, workforce, and the foresight of current and former County leaders. Salt Lake County’s fiscal health is a years-long bi-partisan effort, with officials from the Mayor’s Office, County Council, Treasurer, Assessor, and other independently elected offices each playing vital and complementary roles.
When COVID-19 first hit, not only did Salt Lake County reshape health service delivery, but
internal actions were also implemented to address potential revenue loss and stabilize the
County’s budget. Spending controls were put in place, and a hiring freeze took effect on March 16. When budget realities required deep cuts, Salt Lake County’s nearly 7,000 employees found a way to stretch resources without layoffs.
While battling COVID-19 on multiple fronts, late last month, the County was thrilled to be
notified by all three rating agencies (S&P Global, Fitch Ratings, and Moody’s) that it has
retained its prestigious Triple-A or (AAA) bond rating. A Triple-A bond rating again sets the
County among the top 1.5% of counties nationwide. Only 47 of 3,007 were given this rating. “The rating agencies were very impressed by how quickly we were able to react and adjust our budget when COVID hit, allowing us to maintain this designation,” said Salt Lake County Deputy Mayor and Chief Financial Officer Darrin Casper. “For more than two decades, Salt Lake County policy makers have worked together effectively to maintain this AAA bond rating.”
It is because of this prestigious AAA rating, Salt Lake County can finance services and projects at the lowest-possible interest rates, saving taxpayers millions of dollars over the course of repaying bonds. Those Bonds finance parks, libraries, health clinics, roads, flood control facilities, and many other projects. “This bond rating is a testament to our commitment to operating in a fiscally-conservative and prudent manner,” said Mayor Wilson. “I’m proud of our fiscal management team, especially in a year of COVID with financial twists and turns at every corner. Our fiscal team serves the taxpayers well in how they manage governmental operations, and the financial world continues to take notice.”
The 2021 fiscally sound budget continues Salt Lake County’s commitment to the taxpayers that our decisions are data-driven and deliver the highest value for each tax dollar. While the budget focuses on our fight against COVID-19 directly, the budget also includes investments in other initiatives that positively impact health outcomes, including continued funding for trails, open spaces, and air quality programs. The budget reinforces our commitment to expand opportunities for all residents and provide high quality services that protect public health, public safety, and make Salt Lake County a great place to live, work, play, and conduct business.