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Biskupski's First State of the City Touches on Air Quality, Homeless, Crime, Economic Development

Salt Lake City Office of the Mayor.

In her first State of the City address, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski laid out a wide range of objectives she hopes to achieve over the next four years.

Biskupski echoed the previous administration in her concern for the city’s poor air quality. She has set a goal to have at least half of the city’s energy needs met by renewable resources by 2020. She’s also elevating the division of sustainability to a department.

“This elevation from a division to a department puts sustainability on equal footing, both real and perceived, with every other function of city government,” Biskupski said.

The Division of Economic Development will be elevated to a department as well. Biskupski is launching a nationwide search for a director. She says Salt Lake City must develop an economic identity in order to draw business and stay competitive.

“We will continue to develop our beautiful downtown, but just as importantly, we will cultivate lively business centers in other communities that keep waiting for the attention they deserve,” Biskupski said.

Biskupski named Rose Park, Poplar Grove, Liberty Wells and Glendale neighborhoods as potential beneficiaries.

She also reiterated her commitment to dealing with homelessness and crime, calling on Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown to collaborate with outside agencies to do so. Chief Brown said he appreciates the attention.

“[The] Previous administration had been a little more focused on hey, this is a Salt Lake City issue and this is what we do,” Brown said. “I think it’s bigger than that and I know the mayor thinks that.”

The mayor is also asking the city’s human resources team to audit the city’s harassment policies, which she calls outdated and unacceptable. This follows the resignation of former Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank after former Mayor Ralph Becker concluded substantiated claims of sexual harassment were mishandled in the department. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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