I supported the bond for a new publicsafety building [“No Props,” Oct. 29, City Weekly]. However, the reason I write is that I must say Rocky [Anderson, former Salt Lake City mayor] had a great point. The financing of the building will be done with city bonds that property taxes will service. Not-for-profits, governments and churches are among the approximately 50 percent of entities that are exempt from financing the building. They do not pay property taxes.
Yet, they are among the greatest consumers of our police and fire protection.
An example or two: The University of Utah can expect a paramedic or a fire brigade to show up quicky. So can the LDS Church, especially during General Conference where police and fire security is strong. (Incidentally, this applies also to a number of city services that were not up for vote on the bond issue.) Others that are exempt include the 150,000 or so non-city commuters who receive services every day.
Is there any justice toward city taxpayers? Yes, because many of those exempt will contribute through commercial activities and sales within the city. And it makes the city exciting to have these many activities and events here.
Like most mayors, I gave up well into my terms fighting this issue. I suggested a commuter tax and got slammed.
But I voted for the public-safety building as did I for our great new library, even knowing the tax question was not fair. I did so because I am a resident of Salt Lake City and deeply appreciate its cosmopolitan standing.
Former Salt Lake City mayor