Despite some skepticism, the proposal to combine Provo and Orem seems to have the support of some members of the Provo-Orem Chamber of Commerce.
Skeptics include Orem Mayor S. Blaine Willes and Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins, but both said they would keep an open mind."Combining the cities has some of the same elements as combining BYU and the University of Utah," Willes said.
There are some good economic and political reasons to do it, he said. "But we'd have to get past the emotional side of the
"Combining the cities does not overcome two major problems," Jenkins said. Utah Valley is continually fighting against the "Point of the Mountain Syndrome" and "Utah County Jaundice," he said.
"`Point of the Mountain Syndrome' is the belief that the state ends at the Point of the Mountain and `Utah County Jaundice' is the belief that Utah Valley isn't cosmopolitan," he said.
Polite applause greeted the mayors' speeches, but spontaneous applause followed Cal Monson's remarks.
Monson, member of the Chamber and owner of Monson Real Estate, told the
mayors to keep an open mind because he thinks the movement to combine will gain momentum.
"There are a lot of pluses," Monson said. "And the minuses can be worked out. Things can be changed and should be changed."
Looking at the map, Provo and Orem are naturally one community, he said.
Chamber member and president of Eagle Marketing in Provo Steve Shallenberger agrees.
Shallenberger, who is also part of a group that is organizing three independent feasibility studies on the issue, said, "I think there is an underlying movement that wants the change."
"When people applaud spontaneously, that means something," he said.
Everyone, including Shallenberger, admits that there are some things that need to be worked out.
The mayors brought up some very good points, he said.
According to Jenkins, Provo has a strong-mayor form of city government and Orem has a city manager.
Orem's police and fire departments are combined and Provo's are separate, the cities have different ways to zone and Provo is on a private power system, while Orem uses Utah Power & Light.
"It is the little things, the incompatibilities, that make uniting the cities unlikely," Jenkins said. "If you want to look at it realistically, it probably won't happen."
Willes said he would like to look at the outcome of the feasibility study before giving any concrete answers.