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OGDEN BUDGET TARGETS GANGS

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The Ogden City Council has unanimously approved a $57.1 million budget for fiscal 1994-1995 that includes substantial funding increases for programs to combat youth gang and graffiti problems.

The council increased the emphasis on youth programs in Mayor Glenn Mecham's proposed budget during a series of work sessions, adding $100,000 for a community policing program and $108,500 for after-school youth programs."We're hearing from our public that the No. 1 problem is the youth, the gangs and the graffiti," said Vice Chairman Adele Smith.

The funding will be used to extend the hours of the Marshall White Community Center on weekends and hire additional staff to run after-school programs there and at several schools.

The increase will be made up in part by cutting Mecham's proposed cost-of-living pay increase for employees from 2.5 percent to 2.3 percent.

The budget passed Tuesday does not increase property taxes but does include several fee increases that generated almost no objections during public hearings. Sewer rates will go up by 7 percent and garbage pickup by $1 per container per month.

The plan includes a $100 monthly increase to the salaries of council members that won't take effect until January 1996, after the next municipal elections. Council members approved the increase after evaluating a report that said the current $525 monthly pay is 21 percent below the median among 14 Western cities with similar council-mayor governments.

The budget includes funding for several major capital projects, including $5.3 million for the water delivery system, $2.1 million in bonded debt to fund nearly 20 sewer system and storm drain projects and $1 million for a new taxiway at Ogden-Hinckley Airport.