The recent economic downturn has placed additional emphasis on efficiency for business and government, families and individuals. We all have to find a way to do more with less.
Of course, increasing efficiency isn’t something we do only when we’re forced to; it’s a basic principle of business. Business leaders constantly search for more efficient processes and lower prices for raw materials. For government it is important to get the most out of every tax dollar to maximize the benefit to the public.
One way we can get the most “bang” for our buck is by building a necessary Emergency Operations Center (EOC) that serves both Salt Lake City and the state.
In the event of a significant disaster, an EOC serves as the central command and control facility. Salt Lake City doesn’t have one and the state of Utah’s is outdated and located in an unsafe location.
In the event of major disaster affecting large portions of the state, Salt Lake City, the capital city, is the logical location for a statewide EOC. As the seat of government, the governor’s office, the legislature and the federal offices are all located there. The majority of the population lives close in Salt Lake County and the important transportation system could prove vital to deploying supplies and manpower.
Some would argue two EOCs—one for the state and one for the capital city—are desirable so there is redundancy in case one is destroyed in an emergency. I respectfully disagree. The better path is to have a joint facility, carefully located and wisely built, and a contingency plan should it fail. This is a much more prudent and effective strategy for the taxpayer
In lean times we also have to carefully distinguish between needs and wants. For Salt Lake City, the EOC is the former, not the latter. The public safety building is in horrible condition and does not include an EOC. The state may very well be content to wait another year or two even as we face budget difficulties that thinking is penny-wise and pound-foolish.
The taxpayer—including businesses—cares only that government maximizes the efficient use of tax dollars to provide necessary services. Building two separate facilities when one would be sufficient doesn’t meet that standard.
The state and city should work together to construct one facility that will meet the needs of both entities and save the taxpayers money.