A multi-car accident blocks the intersection at State Street and 400 North in Orem Thursday, April 4, 2013. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Heraldminivan was heading west on University Parkway just before 11 a.m. Feb. 26, 2013
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 10:11 AM
The City of Orem is a dynamic full-service community that is home to nearly 90,000 residents and over 4,000 businesses. Local residents and visitors alike appreciate Orem’s safe neighborhoods, outstanding park system, nationally-acclaimed Library, superior-quality drinking water, recreation programs, and many other amenities.
Orem has long been known as a great community for growing families, and it is also a place that is full of opportunity for students who wish to grow their education. In addition to the 23 public schools serving elementary through high school students, Orem is proud to be the home of Utah Valley University which now has an enrollment of nearly 33,000 students, making it the largest state educational institution in Utah. Technology continues to play a key role in our educational environment, supporting activities such as distance learning and research-based development.
Orem’s business community has a long tradition of leading the nation in high-tech enterprises. Local firms appreciate the infrastructure that Orem offers, including UTOPIA. With an eye on both current needs and the future, decision makers are looking for both Internet capacity and speed. UTOPIA has become an important part of choosing a location in both businesses and residential decisions. Many Orem residents recognize the tremendous benefit of fiber optics and are anxious to have access to UTOPIA in their neighborhoods.
Like other progressive cities, Orem is concerned about meeting the needs of our citizens, businesses, educational institutions, and medical facilities. We value superior infrastructure and high-quality services for our community.
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 9:27 AM
Friday, December 27, 2013
Notes from Closed Meeting on UTOPIA
Two months ago the Orem City Council members attended a meeting regarding the future of UTOPIA. At the meeting they were required to sign a non disclosure agreement. The meeting discussed using a fee on the utility bill of every resident of Orem to cover Utopia and its short fall. The utility fee would be a steep $20 to $25 a month regardless of whether or not you have or even have access to Utopia. The Orem City Manager said the non-disclosure agreement NDA (non disclosure agreement) had been lifted off of those of us who attended the UTOPIA meeting. The notes below were taken by Hans Andersen at the meeting. The notes in black are from the meeting and the notes in red were added by Hans later for clarification.
October 23, 2013 Secret meeting with NDA
I had a meeting at Kirton and McConkie law office in SLC, 50 E South Temple to discuss an offer by a company who wants to partner with UTOPIA. I signed a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) stating I would not talk about the information they shared with us about 10 minutes into the meeting. There were about 5-6 cities at our meeting, about 18 people?. All CC members and city managers are invited and will attend multiple meetings for similar presentations.
A fellow from Canada named Nick Hand (Hann) represented an unknown british company. His plan was to:
1. Get our city councils to vote to make UTOPIA a utility and to impose a still to be determined monthly fee to be imposed on our citizens once they ran the backbone in front of each house in our cities.
He used a $20-25/month figure when describing this. After reading the contract I believe I know why. If you turn to the bottom of page 9, part 2.4 of the Macquarie/UTOPIA agreement it talks about cities like Orem adding to their citizens utility bill the current bond payment for UTOPIA which is currently coming out of the general fund (i.e., property tax that just failed). The Maquarie/UTOPIA agreement says in part 2.4, in part,
. . . . the Parties will continue to explore options for including the existing debt (emphasis added) in the Transaction as outlined in the Milestone 1 Scope of Work herein, and may decide to do so in the future. . . .
City managers like this part because it would dump into the utility bill the whole UTOPIA mistake, (Past and this new debt) just like Provo dumped their whole IPROVO mistake into their utility bill. Many citizens would be unaware of the transfer, just like most don’t know the Orem street light fee was just dumped on their utility bill.
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 8:58 AM
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
"UTOPIA has been quite clearly identified, currently, as a sub-scale network, with not enough addresses to be self-supporting," .Standard Examiner
inks agreement with Australian company
SALT LAKE CITY -- UTOPIA's secret announcement with some 60
mayors and city council members sworn to silence for two months is a fresh $300
million investor from down under.
Australia-based Macquarie Capital Group specializes in managing public-private
partnerships, according to its vita. It boasts $359 million under management in
plan is for the Macquarie-organized company, or reorganized UTOPIA, to finish
building the UTOPIA dream begun in the late 1990s and pay off the 25-year bonds
so many of the member cities are paying out of taxes instead of subscriber
fees. Brigham City currently pays $430,000 a year for its UTOPIA bonds, and
Layton, $2 million.
their $300 million Macquarie gets a slice of the subscriber fees to recoup
their investment over a 30-year period.
officials had hoped to show Macquarie's UTOPIA project manager Nick Hann around
the state to media outlets and some of the fiber-optic company's 11 member
cities all day Thursday. But those plans were blown up by the Thursday morning
snowstorm that closed the Salt Lake City Airport. Hann, from Macquarie's
Vancouver office, didn't get off a plane in Salt Lake until 2:30 p.m., after
diverting to Grand Junction, Colo.
"build-out" UTOPIA is hoping for with Macquarie after more than a
decade of disappointment is to reach its projected 153,000 connections, said
Wayne Pyle, West Valley City manager and UTOPIA board chairman.
he said, the figure is 20,000 connections, or subscribers -- homes and
businesses paying for UTOPIA's high-speed internet access.
was among the group escorting Hann to stops Thursday in Salt Lake, Davis and
Utah counties. The visit of Hann apparently ends the authority of approximately
60 non-disclosure agreements UTOPIA had most of the 11 member cities sign the
last two months to keep quiet until a formal agreement was penned with
that it isn't important, but this is not a particularly large investment for
Macquarie," Hann said in a telephone interview from the Salt Lake airport.
has been quite clearly identified, currently, as a sub-scale network, with not
enough addresses to be self-supporting," he said. "What Macquarie
hopes to do is bring the capital to build out and deliver core public
take the risk for building the project on time and on budget, and the risk to
keep it going ... in this case for 30 years."
member cities of UTOPIA have no liability for repaying the $300 million, he
said. But Hann said he couldn't promise there would never be charges made to
also said $300 million is not a cap, that whatever money is needed would be
$300 million figure is a back-of-the-envelope estimate," Hann said.
"There are no constraints in bringing whatever capital is needed."
works as a "concessionaire," officials explained, forming, financing
and managing the company that will finish laying UTOPIA's fiber-optic cable.
said the build-out is not expected to begin in the spring, actual start-up unclear
until certain feasibility studies finish.
Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on
Twitter at @tgurrister
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 7:40 AM
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Cupcake Chic has moved from their location by Costco to the strip mall located next to Sprouts Farmer's Market, at 1361 S State St, Orem, UT 84097, because they are tearing down the building they were previously located in. This is the strip mall
where Panda Express, Men's Warehouse are located.
Cupcakechicutah web site
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 6:09 PM
SB 172, sponsored by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem
SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill inspired by the financial travails of the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) putting limits on using proceeds from a bond for operating expenses for more than a year has passed the Senate.
SB 172, sponsored by Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, passed the Senate on Wednesday and now advances to the House.
The Orem lawmaker likened using a bond for operational expenses to paying for a mortgage by using a credit card.
Valentine said the bill will not go back and undo UTOPIA, because the rules would go into effect March 14 this year.
Layton, Tremonton, Brigham City, Perry and Centerville are all members of the fiber network, which has struggled financially since its inception almost a decade ago.
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 10:56 AM
UTOPIA asks officials in Brigham City, Layton to sign non-disclosure forms. Tim Gurrister, Standard-Examiner. Wed, 11/13/2013 .
DID OREM CITY OFFICIALS SIGN NON-DISCLOSURE FORMS IN SECRET MEETINGS TOO?
BRIGHAM CITY -- A number of city officials have signed non-disclosure agreements requested by UTOPIA before they were briefed on coming plans by the high-speed fiber-optic internet company.
The non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, are common in private industry. But UTOPIA, for Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, is a cooperative publicly owned by Brigham and 12 other cities.
Brigham is committed to $430,000 a year in bond payments for 25 years, issued as part of UTOPIA's late 1990s startup, officials said.
Layton is signed up to the tune of $2.1 million a year in bond payments for the fiber-optic company, officials said.
But officials in both towns agreed not to disclose details publicly of two sets of meetings with UTOPIA officials in recent weeks covering coming plans for the agency, long mired in the red.
Jason Roberts, Brigham's finance director, in September briefed the city council on the fact the company's operating losses, once at $3 million a year, are currently down to $2.4 million a year.
But of the secret meetings with UTOPIA on Nov. 4 in the city offices and a week earlier in Salt Lake City attended by he and other city officials who signed their NDAs, Roberts said he could only say the meetings were positive.
"I did not take it as bad news in any shape or form," Roberts said. "And it will be fully disclosed before any action is taken."
He said he couldn't predict when that action, in public, would be taken. He said he could say the NDA involved the interest of a third-party, relating to proprietary concerns about internal business operations.
City Attorney Kirk Morgan echoed that, and said he advised city officials they were safe, on legal ground, in signing the NDAs.
"UTOPIA has never done this before, and it only applied to this one set of meetings," Morgan said. "My assumption is the non-disclosure agreements have to terminate at some point. The council can't vote on something without discussing it. That's the only way it would get approved."
Morgan said he did not attend the meetings, so didn't sign an NDA, but insisted "the only way for UTOPIA to do anything by way of a major change is by a public vote, with whatever proposal ratified in a public meeting."
Layton City Attorney Gary Crane said he advised his city officials to go ahead and sign the NDAs for the meetings. He signed one himself.
He said they did involve a third party with proprietary concerns, and in fact it was the third party which requested UTOPIA collect the NDAs.
"In the course of looking at various options, it's not unusual for a private business to request public officials sign NDAs," Crane said. "The Governor's Office of Economic Development does it all the time with incoming businesses they're recruiting.
"I don't know why it's such a big deal," he said. "It's just information gathering, not decision-making."
One who refused to sign her NDA was Brigham City Councilwoman Ruth Jensen.
"I'm not going to sign non-disclosures so UTOPIA can waste more of our money in closed sessions," she said. "It's sneaky and under-handed and could be a violation of the state's open meetings law."
Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238, email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister
Posted by Peggy Burdett at 10:44 AM