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W. JORDAN STILL GROWING - AND SO ARE COFFERS

SHARE W. JORDAN STILL GROWING - AND SO ARE COFFERS

As they built their budget for 1995, city officials reluctantly acknowledged the years-long building boom couldn't last forever and projected a 3 percent decline in building permits.

They were wrong, and city coffers now have $600,000 to show for the error."We thought it would fall off," Assistant City Manager Penny Atkinson said. "Instead, it not only increased but it increased by more than we've ever seen in the history of the city."

The resulting $600,000 budget surplus - discovered during a midyear analysis - will bring four new employees to West Jordan's planning staff, five crossing guards to school zones and a new or improved park to the city's west side. The city's fiscal 1995-96 year ends July 1.

About $50,000 also will refurbish the contingency fund, which the city raided to make improvements necessary to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act, At-kin-son said.

In 1994, the city issued 1,126 building permits, which increased to 1,277 in 1995. Most of the building still happens in the residential housing sector, said Wayne Har-per, director of community and economic development.

The number of single-family residential housing permits grew from 720 in 1994 to 879 in 1995.

The development boom has meant long hours for the inspectors who monitor the growth. "Our people were getting so burned out, we had to do something," Atkinson said.

Harper said the city has hired contract help and paid overtime but the staff still has taken a beating.

"It's the kind of thing that happens when people work 10- to 12-hour days. They get tired," Harper said, adding the fatigue has caused some minor injuries. For example, one inspector tripped and fell over a 2-by-4, Harper said.

Because of the overload, the city already hired two new building inspectors and will hire a deputy city recorder for the department and an engineering inspector, who checks infrastructure such as city water and sewer lines.

The bulk of the $600,000 will pay the salaries and inspectors' equipment: computers, desks, office furnishings and cars, Atkinson said.

Changes in area school boundaries make it necessary to hire five new crossing guards.

The park-related money will pay for a new mower and some equipment, but the bulk of $100,000 allocated to parks will go to major park improvements and toward property for a new site in west West Jordan.

Although the city has tentatively decided how it will use the surplus, officials will accept public comment on Feb. 20 at the City Council meeting. The item should come up about 7:30 p.m.

It's the first time in six years the city has done a midyear budget review. A change in the way sales tax is distributed also contributed about 10 percent of the surplus.