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BUDGET PLAN PARKS FUNDING IN RECREATION

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Salt Lake County's 1995 budget is full of fun and games, given its emphasis on recreation projects, but otherwise represents business as usual.

The $346.6 million tentative budget sets aside money to build one new park, expand another park and buy land for a new park, and tees off construction of the Old Mill Golf Course.Crime prevention will also get attention in the coming year. The county will match money from the National Crime Bill to hire 20 new deputy sheriffs and provide money to build a youth services building.

It also will spend $6.5 million to fund the new office of the district attorney, which will handle criminal prosecutions. Civil matters will be left to the county attorney's office.

The good news: The county will be able to do all this and fund its other operations without a tax increase.

"It's a pretty normal budget," said Commissioner Brent Overson. "I don't see there are any out-of-the-ordinary bells and whistles. It's tight. We're in good shape."

Commissioners trimmed about $3.5 million in department requests to reach the 1995 proposed budget total, which reflects an increase of 4.7 percent over 1994.

"Everything is rather flat this year, really austere," Commissioner Randy Horiuchi said. "We didn't have much wiggle room."

In fact, budget director Nelson G. Williams said the auditor's office has warned the commission that budgets for some funds exceed their projected 1995 incomes. The difference is being made up by dipping into fund balances.

"We have healthy fund balances, but as a long-term trend, it's something to be cautious about," Williams said.

Budget highlights include:

- New paramedic service starts in Sandy.

- Work begins on a senior citizen center, 4740 S. 4850 West, Kearns. The budget provides an additional $529,000 for the $1.85 million project.- Work will begin on a $2.9 million youth services building at 3700 S. West Temple.

- County employees will get 3 percent merit raises and a 3 percent cost-of-living raise next July.

- An additional $1.4 million is designated for a full-service health clinic in Kearns, which will be under construction through 1995, bringing the cost of the project to $2.8 million.

- $1.3 million goes to replace Fire Station No. 10 in the Union area.

"This is a sensible budget," said commission Chairman Jim Bradley. "We've continued to move dollars away from administration and into front-line services, such as our youth shelter, the Kearns Health Clinic and criminal justice programs."

A public hearing on the tentative budget is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 5:30 p.m. in the County Commission Chambers, 2001 S. State.

Residents throughout the county will benefit from new investments in recreational amenities.

The county plans to make a park out of a weed-covered utility corridor that runs along the borders of West Valley City and Kearns from 4150 West to 4800 West on 4700 South. The budget includes $500,000 to begin work on the park, which will include a pedestrian walkway, basketball and volleyball courts.

The county also plans to expand Cougar Park in the Oquirrh Shadows area of Kearns and to buy land for a park in the Valley Center area near 3900 S. 700 West.

And it will build picnic and play areas at various parks, including Granite Park, Olympus Hills Park and Big Cottonwood Regional Park.

The biggest recreational news is that, after years of land acquisition, work will begin on the Old Mill Golf Course.

"We are proud of the Riverbend Golf Course in Riverton and believe Old Mill will be just as valuable a resource on the east bench as our other golf courses have been in the other sectors of the county," Bradley said.

The county will break ground on the $7 million course, located east of I-215 at Knudsen Corner, in the spring. The site is currently a gravel pit.

The county plans to issue bonds to raise money to build the course; the bonds will be repaid with golf revenues.

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Additional Information

Tentative budget

Salt Lake County's tentative 1995 budget:

$346,600,000

General Fund

1995: $154,800,000

1994: $130,000,000

Municipal services

1995: $63,700,000

1994: $56,300,000

Property tax:

1995: $125,500,000

1994: $116,200,000

Where some of the money goes

Elected Offices

1995: $54,000,000

1994: $50,400,000

Human Services:

1995: $41,300,000

1994: $39,900,000

Sheriff:

1995: $36,300,000

1994: $33,100,000

Parks & Recreation

1995: $14,600,000

1994: $14,300,000

Public Works:

1995: $36,600,000

1994: $35,000,000

Solid Waste Management:

1995: $10,700,000

1994: $ 8,900,000

Animal Services:

1995: $2,500,000

1994: $2,300,000