If you follow my blog, you know that I plan on voting for Mia Love come this November [Previous Post]. There is a lot of incorrect information floating around out there about her, and the City of . The purpose of this post is to shed some light on the facts, and to let others know the truth, and why I am going to vote for Mia in November.
First, I want to share an experience that I had once when interacting with Mia. I have had a lot of opportunities to talk to Mia about issues in. Before she was elected Mayor, I did the best I could to get to know the candidates.
A while back, I can’t remember the date, we were talking about the desire for Saratoga Springs to have a library (The library was something that was made a reality while she was Mayor of Saratoga Springs, but no one is mentioning it in the press). During our conversation, the topic of a Recreation Center came up. In Utah there are several cities around Saratoga Springs that have Rec centers. For those who don’t know what they are, they are City Government ran recreation centers. They have basketball courts, swimming pools, and other recreation activities. But in all of the ones around us, you pay taxes for the upkeep of the center, but then if you want to go to it, you have to buy a membership. If you are a resident of the city, your membership costs less than if you are not a resident. But you still have to pay to go use the facility. During our conversation, Mia let me know that she felt this was wrong. She explained that she thinks if the City is collecting taxes for a facility, then that facility needs to be open to all residents. There should not be a barrier to entry because a resident can’t afford the annual dues. This concept is refreshing to me. Yes, we need government, but if our tax dollars are building something and the government is involved, it should be for EVERYONE that is paying the taxes for it. There should not be a FEE to use it, that is what the TAXES are being collected for. I believe that Mia has followed this belief, and tries to give everyone access to facilities that are being funded by the government of Saratoga Springs.
Ok, now on to some of the mis information. The first one is her opponent (Jim Matheson) is making a big deal about the fact that the City Council raised the salary for the Mayor of Saratoga Springs. The salary or compensation for City Council members and the Mayor was voted on and increased in July 2010. The following change was made $675 to $875 for the Mayor per month, and $450 to $650 per month for City Council Members. It also should be noted that Love was made Mayor on January 8, 2010. At that point, she lost her ability to vote on resolutions and ordinances [City Code 2.02.010.1 “He shall not vote at council meetings except in the case of a tie, when he shall give the casting or deciding vote.”] . The Mayor of Saratoga Springs can only vote when there is a tie between the City Council members, and there was not a tie. Technically, it was not Mayor Love that increased her salary, but the City Council members at the time. The discussion was done during the June 22, 2010 city council meeting [Meeting Minutes].
Her salary is as follows:
Fiscal Year 2008-09: $8,100 (Mia Love’s salary was $5,400, which was the amount adopted for Council members)
Fiscal Year 2009-10: $8,100 (Mia Love’s salary was $6,750, this represents a Council member’s salary for 6 months and the Mayor’s salary for 6 months)
Fiscal Year 2010-11: $10,500
Fiscal Year 2011-12: $10,500
Note, Saratoga Springs has a fiscal year from July 1 through June 30. She took office in 2010 so prior to that point she served and collected as a City Council Member.
It should be noted that she only takes home about $830 per month, and she still has to pay for her own travel, cell, internet and other business expenses. I would hardly call this a salary. Anyone else want to deal with being a Mayor of a city of 18,000 for only 10,500 (gross) a year?
Another area that has been brought up has been that of police budget and protection. If you look at the graphs below, you will see that arrests have actually decreased over the past three years, while the population has increased.
Notice that total arrests has dropped from 764 in 2009 to 536 in 2011 and the population has increased by over 2,000 residents during the same time period. You can find the Police statistics here, and the population statistics here.
I know, I know, that there are a lot of factors that go into the charts above. But the point is this, that arrests or crime has not risen in the city, but the population has.