This is an archived article that was published on in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake County Council members found little to quibble with in Mayor Ben McAdams' proposed $1.1 billion budget for 2015.

The budget they signed off on Tuesday, and are scheduled to adopt after a Dec. 9 public hearing, departed from McAdams' plan in only one area. It added three attorneys — to the Legal Defender Association — turning aside requests from the district attorney and recorder's offices for more staff.

The council also delayed contributing county funding to a developing "veteran's court" until a mid-year budget adjustment next summer, but left little doubt that Sheriff Jim Winder will get the money then to join an effort by multiple organizations in the criminal justice system to create a distinct court for military veterans, who frequently end up in trouble after returning home from war.

"Sometimes, the answer is no. We love you, but sometimes the answer is no," Council Chairman Michael Jensen said after the council voted 6-3 against the requests from the recorder and, especially, the district attorney.

In sticking close to the mayor, the council is putting forth a budget that does not have a tax increase, gives county employees a 2.75 percent wage hike and slightly improved benefits, and puts money into trails, theaters and deferred capital maintenance projects.

D.A. Sim Gill had asked the council for $319,000 more than McAdams had included in his budget, seeking a fourth new attorney (the mayor's budget included only three) as well as a clinical coordinator and a victim counselor.

But the Republican-majority council stuck with a premise voiced by vice chairman Richard Snelgrove that "the mayor's budget is the ceiling and not the floor," meaning any bottom-line revisions would be down and not up.

To that end, Snelgrove whittled away at programs here and there during a stream of department budget presentations the past two weeks. He came up with enough cuts to fund three more attorneys for the Legal Defenders Association so it could keep pace with the extra workload created by the DA getting three new lawyers in the mayor's budget — on top of three new lawyers last year.

Democratic Councilman Sam Granato felt Gill made a compelling argument for more personnel, particularly to help crime victims who often go without counsel, but could not muster support to get it into the council's budget.

Jim Bradley voted against the legal funding for a different reason. Even with more legal defenders, he didn't think the council had done enough to reduce the disparity of resources between the two sides. "It's our constitutional duty to provide defense for indigents," he said.

Patrick Anderson, who manages the Legal Defender Association, said he could have used more assistance but was pleased with what he got.

"There is an imbalance in the criminal justice system," he said. "It brings me at least into the ballgame, into the realm of manageability."

Recorder Gary Ott had requested two employees to handle a paperwork backlog causing licensing and planning and zoning problems. The council opted to look at that issue next year.

Twitter: @sltribmikeg —

Budget hearing

A public hearing on Salt Lake County's proposed $1.1 billion budget for 2015 will be held Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. in the North Building of the County Government Center, 2001 S. State. The budget is available at