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Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams renews pledge to nix homeless site if revenue bill fails

SALT LAKE CITY — In his 5th State of the County deal with — probably his ultimate will have to he win his congressional bid — Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams highlighted 2017 successes, from overcoming demanding situations whilst operating to reform the county’s homeless machine, to keeping up the county’s robust monetary status.

“I am honored to be here today, repeating the words you’ve heard from me before: The state of our county is strong,” McAdams stated in his speech on the Salt Lake County Government Center Monday.

Over the previous yr, the mayor used to be tasked by means of the Utah Legislature to make a politically destructive choice — to find a 3rd, 300-bed homeless useful resource heart elsewhere within the county rather then Salt Lake City, after town’s plan to construct 4 homeless useful resource facilities faltered amid group backlash.

After spending a secret night within the Road Home’s bothered downtown refuge to assist mull the verdict, McAdams in the end selected a site in South Salt Lake, to the fury of town’s leaders and citizens. At the time, McAdams pledged to no longer toughen the middle’s groundbreaking till the Utah Legislature passes a bill to create a pool of revenue from different towns to assist fund the facilities.

On Monday, McAdams repeated that pledge.

“Until the Legislature passes (that bill), we won’t break ground in South Salt Lake,” he stated.

Though there was communicate of the bill — which House Speaker Greg Hughes has stated must pass this consultation — it hasn’t but been filed.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, had up to now stated he was hoping it will be filed by means of the second one week of the consultation (greater than two weeks in the past). Monday, Eliason stated he hopes it is going to be launched by means of the tip of the week.

McAdams stated he is been in talks with legislative leaders, and he is certain it is going to cross this consultation.

“I have faith in our legislative partners, and I’m confident they will succeed and we will be moving forward this spring as planned,” he stated.

The county and state’s homeless reform machine — greater than 3 years in growth — has been a “stubborn and complex social challenge,” McAdams stated, however the county and Shelter the Homeless is “on track” to smash flooring this spring at the new facilities that can “anchor the radically different approach we’re supporting to address homelessness.”

“Over the past three years, we harnessed the goodwill and hard work of many people trying to address homelessness,” McAdams stated, lauding the paintings of the Collective Impact on Homelessness Steering Committee he convened and efforts to elevate tens of millions in private and non-private greenbacks to transfer clear of the “one-size-fits-all model.”

The mayor stated he is met “so many people on this journey” however one circle of relatives experiencing homelessness stands proud: a 7-year-old woman named Sammy and her unmarried dad, Gary, who McAdams stated fell into homelessness after a well being disaster that value him his development corporate.

“It was hard to watch Sammy laughing and drawing pictures while her dad described alarming conditions in the homeless shelter,” McAdams stated, lauding the transfer ultimate summer time of all households from the downtown refuge to the Road Home’s Midvale refuge.

McAdams highlighted Operation Rio Grande as “our most expansive collaboration (with the state) to date” — main to about 200 new drug remedy beds. He additionally lauded Salt Lake County Sheriff Rosie Rivera’s efforts to reopen Oxbow Jail in July, and Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s paintings on a lawsuit in opposition to opioid producers.

“Over and over, those we arrest in Operation Rio Grande tell the story of how prescription painkillers led to heroin addiction,” McAdams stated. “That is unacceptable and unconscionable, and we will join other Utah counties and communities across the country to stand up and hold the drugmakers accountable.”

One of Operation Rio Grande’s arrestees, Destiny Garcia, attended McAdams’ deal with Monday. Since her arrest on Aug. 21, Garcia started drug remedy and is now housed within the county’s new sober living program after a 10-year heroin and meth dependancy.

McAdams offered her as “one of those who have grabbed hold of this second chance and is working hard to return to a stable, self-reliant life.”

“Destiny, we’re proud of your effort and your decision to confront this illness and take responsibility for turning your life around,” the mayor stated, telling her she has an entire county in the back of her praying for her luck.

Throughout his speech, McAdams additionally credited a large number of workers and division heads for his or her paintings, from the well being division’s weekly cleanups of Rio Grande boulevard, to the Department of Regional Transportation, Housing and Economic Development for bringing on 1,371 new inexpensive housing devices.

County Council Chairwoman Aimee Winder Newton applauded McAdams for giving credit score to the folks with “boots on the ground” doing the paintings. She added, then again, the county does face some uncertainty on giant problems which might be nonetheless hurdles.

“There’s still a lot of unknowns with Operation Rio Grande,” Newton stated. “We hear how great the streets are in Salt Lake City, and yet in my areas that I represent in Murray and Taylorsville and areas along the Jordan River, we’re hearing of some issues still that linger where people have scattered.”

That, along side long term investment of the homeless facilities and Oxbow Jail nonetheless should be addressed, “but we’re optimistic,” Newton stated. She additionally subsidized McAdams’ renewed pledge to no longer toughen the South Salt Lake homeless site till the bill to fund the facilities with revenue from different towns passes the Legislature.

“I don’t think it’s fair for us to have one or two cities that bear the burden,” she stated. “It makes sense that we’re all in this together.”

McAdams additionally targeted at the county’s general financial status, applauding county leaders for adopting a “fiscally responsible budget” ultimate yr and preserving the county’s triple-A bond rankings.

Looking to the county’s financial long term, McAdams additionally famous the county plans to use a “little-noticed” phase within the tax reform regulation handed by means of Congress ultimate yr to assist “spread economic opportunity across all communities.”

The legislation creates “opportunity zones,” McAdams stated, which is able to use tax incentives to draw “long-term investment to places that struggle with high poverty and sluggish business growth.”

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McAdams stated after his speech that Salt Lake City’s northwest quadrant — which is being eyed by means of the state for an inland port, inflicting stress between state and town leaders — has the prospective to be “on the top of the list” of spaces regarded as to be “opportunity zones,” and he plans to paintings with town and state leaders to assist broaden the realm for the advantage of town, county and state.

“We are all in this together,” McAdams stated. “The lines on the map don’t just divide us. … Our goal is to see prosperity increase at all levels, not just in certain ZIP codes.”

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