This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and west-side City Councilman James Rogers called an impromptu news conference at the proposed site of a new state prison Tuesday and said they weren't going to take it sitting down.
Less than one hour after the Prison Relocation Commission announced its unanimous recommendation that a new 4,000-bed prison be built just north of Interstate 80 at about 7200 West in Salt Lake City, Becker told news reporters that he and the City Council would continue to work toward nullifying the selection.
"We in Salt Lake City are troubled to learn that Salt Lake City was selected today," Becker said. "They have forced a new prison on Salt Lake City against our wishes."
The mayor was short on details, but he said Salt Lake City would continue to work with lawmakers and others in an effort to convince the Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert of the public safety, environmental and engineering challenges posed by the site west of Salt Lake City International Airport.
The full Legislature and the governor must approve the selection.
Earlier, both Becker and Rogers had floated the notion of potential litigation.
"We will continue to do everything we can to keep this site from [officially] being accepted," Becker said.
Because the capital city's population nearly doubles each workday and because much city land is owned by government or non-profit organizations that don't pay property taxes, residents in Salt Lake City bear a great tax burden, the mayor said. The site selected for the prison would take hundreds of acres off private tax rolls and add significantly to that burden, he said.
Rogers added that the state's estimated $550 million build out is well below what it will actually cost because of the challenges at the site, including lack of water and sewer.
The selection of the Salt Lake City site was pure politics, Rogers said.
"This is a political move and has been from the beginning," he said. "Sixty-five percent of Salt Lake City residents say keep it in Draper."