Legislative audit blasts UTOPIA's planning, use of bond funds

Published: Thursday, Aug. 2 2012 7:22 a.m. MDT

Van Tassell says it's time for UTOPIA to cut its losses, get out of the telecommunications business and sell its assets to the private sector.

"The worst reaction to this audit would be to throw even more good money after the bad money that has been wasted," he said.

Following a meeting Wednesday of the Audit Subcommittee of the Legislative Management Committee, Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, said among the main concerns she has regarding the audit findings is the financial impact the costly project could have on the taxpayers of member cities.

“There are concerns about the model, the management and some of the data that is in dispute with the auditor (regarding subscriber numbers),” she said. “Member cities are going to have to rise up and demand increased accountability and information from UTOPIA.”

Contributing: Jasen Lee

UTOPIA falls short of subscriber goals

In 2003, UTOPIA estimated its services would be available to all 141,000 addresses in its 11 member cities. Actual numbers show the agency has fallen well short of its goals.

GOAL

September 2007

Addresses: 141,000

Subscribers: 49,350

Subscription rate: 35 percent

ACTUAL

June 2007

Addresses: 37,160

Subscribers: 6,161

Subscription rate: 16.6 percent

June 2009

Addresses: 48,646

Subscribers: 8,009

Subscription rate: 16.5 percent

June 2011

Addresses: 56,000

Subscribers: 8,572

Subscription rate: 15.3 percent

April 2012

Addresses: 58,100

Subscribers: 9,340

Subscription rate: 16.1 percent

Source: Office of the Utah Legislative Auditor General

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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