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W. JORDAN PUTS GANGS, GROWTH AS PRIORITIES IN BUDGET PLAN

SHARE W. JORDAN PUTS GANGS, GROWTH AS PRIORITIES IN BUDGET PLAN

Controlling growth and preventing gang activities are the top priorities for expenditures in the West Jordan proposed budget for fiscal 1994-95.

The City Council is planning to make a final budget decision at its meeting on Tuesday, June 14."Gangs are not a big problem in our city now, and we want to make sure that we have enough police force to enforce laws and prevent any gang-related activities," says Penny Atkinson, assistant city manager.

The public-safety budget has increased from $4,948,576 to $5,285,676 for the upcoming fiscal year. The increase will pay two new police officers and three fire-department employees. Additionally, 11 public-safety officers who have previously been providing 24-hour protection to Russian visitors living in the Russian Complex in West Jordan will be reassigned.

For months, the city fought a potential lawsuit and opposition from county ambulance services to acquire its own ambulance service. Beginning July 1, West Jordan will operate two ambulances. "We hope the service will be more efficient and more accessible to West Jordan residents," said Atkinson.

Planning is critical to West Jordan at this time of unprecedented growth, said Atkinson. While its neighbor, South Jordan, has imposed a moratorium on zoning requests and is considering limiting growth to 5 to 7 percent, West Jordan is embracing growth.

"The challenge is not to discourage growth but to plan ahead so growth enhances the city," said Atkinson. There are no plans to impose construction moratoriums, but the city is changing its zoning requirements favoring bigger homes built on bigger lots.

"We're getting away from the smaller homes of the 1980s. We're trying to maintain a balance. We still want to attract new families, but we want to ensure a high quality of life. Developers are building larger homes compatible with our long-range plan for our city," said Atkinson.

The population of West Jordan currently is about 48,000. The city predicts more than 800 new homes will be built this year. To handle growth, the city plans to hire an engineer, a building inspector and a zoning specialist. Also, the city has budgeted for 10 to 15 new employees with background in development.

"The construction approval process is time-consuming. Increase in staff will help us organize the process and share the work load."

The city would like to charge impact fees for new construction of homes. This money, paid by developers, would be used to buy new fire trucks and police cars for the city. However, the city must hold a series of public hearings on the impact fees before making any decision, said Atkinson.

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Additional Information

BUDGET

West Jordan

General Fund: $13,088,139

1994-95

General Fund: $11,729,666

1993-94

Where it comes from:

Taxes: $7,928,126

Last year: $7,019,860

Licenses/ permits: $1,035,950

Last year: $ 708,739

Fines: $ 437,000

Last year: $ 390,877

Service charges: $1,787,263

Last year: $1,545,188

Miscellaneous: $1,899,800

Last year: $1,819,800

Where it goes:

Public safety: $5,285,676

Last year: $4,948,576

Dev. services: $1,182,873

Last year: $ 865,858

Public works: $3,014,936

Last year: $2,895,189

Parks: $ 556,371

Last year: $ 498,651

Finance: $ 552,397

Last year: $ 558,845

Executives: $2,495,886

Last year: $1,962,547

Tax/fee increases:

None immediately planned.