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More Jail Beds, No New Taxes In Salt Lake County Budget Proposal

The Oxbow Jail in Salt Lake County, if reopened will provide an additional 368 beds.

The Salt Lake County Council was set to finalize the 2018 budget Tuesday, but they’ve pushed the vote to next week. 

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams $1.3 billion budget proposal asks to open 368 jail beds at the mostly defunct Oxbow jail in 2018. Members of the county council, who have the final say on the budget, say that’s a good idea. The Salt Lake County jail was already overcrowded. It got worse when the crime and drug crackdown Operation Rio Grande started this summer.

The proposed budget would use money that was initially set aside to pay other county jails to house Salt Lake County inmates. McAdams and Sheriff Rosie Rivera say it would be cheaper to house them at Oxbow than to contract with other counties.

McAdams asked county departments to find more than $24 million in savings this year to balance the budget. One proposal is to close the county’s waste transfer station, which would save $2.7 million annually. However, trash collectors say it will lead to fee hikes on residents because they’ll have to haul trash further distances. The county council, in a straw poll last month agreed to fund the transfer station, at least through the next six months. 

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