SALT LAKE CITY -- A vote on the Salt Lake City Mayor’s budget proposal Tuesday night took a hit from a mayoral candidate.
Councilman Luke Garrott is running for the mayor’s seat and he had some choice words for Mayor Ralph Becker and his plans for the city.
“We have a certain way of raising funds under this mayor, which has been, ‘I’m not going to raise taxes, but I will be sneaky about raising fines and license fees,’” Garrott said.
The council chair is talking about a portion of the 2015-16 budget, which calls for increasing parking fines.
In this story
- - Base ticket fine for a car parked at an expired meter will increase from $15 to $25.
- - Fine for someone who parks in a metered spot without paying will increase to $50.
Under the plan, the base ticket fine for a car parked at an expired meter will increase from $15 to $25, generating approximately $845,000.
It would also hike up the fine for someone who parks in a metered spot without paying to $50, generating an estimated $60,000.
“I think it’s a really bad policy decision to be pricing people out of downtown,” Garrott said. “Once you get socked with a big fine like that I’m afraid that people will never come back again, and that is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing downtown.”
The mayor’s office countered that the council and public have debated the budget proposal for months.
They questioned the timing and motives of Garrott’s criticism, which they felt was more about the mayoral race than the proposal.
“I think any claim that it’s sneaky or somehow not transparent is disingenuous at best, and pretty clearly campaign rhetoric,” said the mayor’s Chief of Staff David Everitt.
While Garrott voted against the proposal Tuesday night, he was the only one. The plan passed the council 5-1.
“It’s the last council meeting for a month or so,” Everitt said, “It’s pretty clearly just a campaign tactic at this point, throwing anything at the wall to see what sticks.”