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Officials: New Draper rec center will cost millions more due to Trump steel tariffs

The new Draper recreation center will cost millions more due to Trump steel tariffs, county officials learned in a meeting on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — Tuesday night's Salt Lake County Council meeting was on track to be typical — some might say "boring," even. Then, the finance department took to the podium with some really big, really bad news.

“There was a doozy today,” said county council member Jenny Wilson, about the report from employees who had the task of telling council members that the Draper recreation center project at 657 Vestry Road in Draper would be hit with $2.2 million in unexpected costs due to the rising cost of steel.

"This was a surprise— it came to us mid-year,” Wilson said. “It means we're going to have less swing sets in the future, fewer parks, or we're not going to be able to keep up on the maintenance as well."

Wilson, who is also running for U.S. Senate as a Democrat against Republican Mitt Romney, said the county's finance department spent two and a half hours going over the project plan line item by line item, identifying any steel in the project so they could adjust and account for the new costs.

Holly Yocum, the county's community service director, said although the county has contingency plans in place for unplanned budget hits, this increase in steel costs — 10 percent higher than expected — was a significant blow.

Wilson said the county will be able to absorb the cost for now, but in time, for the county and for county residents, it will not be as easy.“

"I worry about the future," she said. "I worry about someone who wants to build a home who has been saving and ready to build — they’re going to be hit with some sticker shock as well, and that's alarming."

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