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MAYOR’S PROGRAMS BROUGHT DEBT

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Mayor Corradini is running on her "record," that is, on the "wonderful programs" she has instituted for the alleged benefit of the city and its residents. What everyone ignores is that virtually all of these "wonderful programs" have required millions of dollars of bonding on the part of city and its umpteen public authorities, bonding that few know about.

This type of financing has put the city and its political subdivisions into incalculable debt.Only one-fourth of the city's overall operating expenses is "on-budget." Thus, as long as the big money-draining programs can be placed "off-budget," the mayor can - and does - stand before the public and say: "Look at me, I have `balanced the budget.' "

A good example is golf. City recreation has always been an "on-budget" item (and a big loser to boot), so in July 1992, the mayor came up with the idea of creating a Recreation Enterprise Fund, merging golf with recreation - charging such to the "users" - and thereby getting recreation "off-budget." The trouble is that this maneuver has now left golf with an undisclosed "off-budget" deficit.

What's worse is that, sooner or later, the bondholders who have purchased the millions of dollars in debt issued by the Municipal Building Authority of Salt Lake City (on which the golf facilities are collateral security) shall wind up foreclosing on the city's golf courses. Such exorbitant debt cannot be serviced, let alone paid off, without more and more borrowing.

What Salt Lake City needs in a mayor is a person who is not committed to such behavior. While we know little of Rich McKeown, it would seem from all appearances that he has no such commitment.

J. Michael Coombs

Salt Lake City