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Budgets, cameras and Mr. Bradburn goes to Washington

Mar 07, 2018 05:22PM ● Published by Justin Adams

The Sandy City Council approved spending to live stream city council meetings. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

Here’s a quick look at three other stories that happened in Sandy last month.

1) Mayor Bradburn visits Washington, D.C.

Mayor Kurt Bradburn was one of 50 mayors from across the country invited to the White House last month to discuss infrastructure needs. 

In a video message posted to the Sandy City Hall YouTube channel, Bradburn said he’s “really excited about the infrastructure bill that the White House is trying to get bipartisan support for.” 

“It would be great to get some of those federal dollars to help update our infrastructure and bring it into the 21st century,” he said.

2) City begins work on next year’s budget

On Feb. 6, the Sandy City Council meeting was held at the River Oaks Golf Course clubhouse. There was only one item on the night’s agenda: a workshop to kick off the budget process for the next fiscal year.

After a review of the city’s current financial status, both the city administration and the city council members had a chance to present their priorities for what should be in the budget. The common theme throughout the night from both the administration and the council was the need to provide more competitive wages to the city’s law-enforcement personnel.

“We’ve lost officers to other cities that have been recruiting,” said Bradburn, who also said that he has sat down with Police Chief Kevin Thacker in recent weeks to come up with a plan to boost pay for the city’s police officers.

Part of that plan includes shortening the amount of time it takes for an officer to move up through a set pay range from 17 years to 11 years, as well as increasing the pay amount at both ends of the range.

Councilwoman Kris Coleman-Nicholl said she would like to see the range be shortened to 10 years. “I think we’re going to lose a lot more officers than people are expecting,” she said.

During the meeting the city administration also unveiled a new interactive budget tool that the public will have access to soon. The website allows users to play with the Sandy budget themselves by adjusting the city’s revenue and expense priorities. Residents will even be able to share their modified budgets with the city so that city leaders can have a better idea of what people would like to see.

3) City council approves spending to live stream council meetings

On Jan. 23, the Sandy City Council voted to spend just over $22,000 to upgrade the audio-visual capabilities of the council chambers. The upgrades will make it possible to provide a live video feed of the weekly council meetings so residents can watch from home.

The concept of live-streamed city council meetings was one of Bradburn’s campaign promises, making the city government more transparent and accessible to its citizens.

Councilwoman Brooke Christensen said she talked to hundreds of people last year during the election process who said they wanted that kind of access to the city council so they could be more involved, even if they just watch from home.

The resolution was passed by the council 5-2, with the two dissenting votes coming from Chris McCandless and Coleman-Nicholl.

McCandless said he was opposed to the idea because he thinks that all parties involved would act differently if they are on camera. “I’m struggling with live video streaming because I want to have more honest, open deliberation and I think that takes away from our ability to do that,” he said.

Coleman-Nicholl expressed concerns about the usefulness of the technology, citing extremely low viewership numbers from other cities that do something similar, as well as low numbers of residents listening to the city’s current audio stream of the meeting.

According to Bradburn, the live stream won’t be up and running for a few months while the cameras are installed. 

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