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Orem residents face property tax increase to pay for UTOPIA

Published: Thursday, June 14 2012 5:49 p.m. MDT

OREM — Orem is considering a property tax increase to help pay the city’s commitment to the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency — UTOPIA.

"Orem hasn't proposed an increase in property taxes since 1978,” Orem city manager Bruce Chesnut said in an email. “We are looking at an increase of $8 per month on the average home to continue to provide high-quality services and meet the needs of the community. Our UTOPIA obligation is one of those needs."

UTOPIA is a state agency working with 11 cities to provide fiber-optic connectivity infrastructure for high-speed Internet.

“In essence, it’s a utility, we’re providing the pipes,” UTOPIA public relations coordinator Jason Russell said. “Once somebody is connected to our service, then they can find an Internet service provider to get their content.”

There is currently no fixed date for when UTOPIA will complete the fiber-optic project in Orem.

“To be most cost-effective, we are proceeding in a way that balances demand versus cost to build,” Russell said. “Thinking ahead on where we are going what would be best for the taxpayers, for UTOPIA itself.”

A meeting is scheduled June 19 at 6 p.m. at Orem City Center, to give the public a chance to voice opinions about the property tax proposal.

Twitter: @FinleyJY

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