Being a good neighbor may have its costs, but Orem's City Council is willing to give it a try.
The council decided to extend services of prosecution to its smaller neighbor Vineyard until June 30, when Orem will assess whether the service is costing too much or creating too much work for the city's Legal Services Department.Vineyard Mayor J. Rulon Gammon said the city appreciates the police protection that Orem has given, and he believes there have been very few arrests that have led to prosecution.
"We are willing to pay the cost of prosecuting these cases," Gammon said. Vineyard has legal services, but the proximity to Orem would make the cases easier to prosecute.
But Orem's Legal Services Department is not too keen on the idea.
"We are already swamped," said Paul Johnson, Orem city attorney. The department would have to change a lot of its paperwork, and the assumption of the extra cases would only slow things down even more.
But, Johnson did admit that the change would make things easier for the city's police department.
Councilwoman Lucile Steele said she doesn't see a problem because it seems that Orem is already taking care of the cases. If Vineyard pays for the prosecutions that Orem is already handling, the city can't help but gain.
Orem Mayor S. Blaine Willes sided with legal services but wants to help Vineyard if the city would agree to help the legal department.
"Legal services is already overloaded," he said. "We have reached the point where we can no longer work with the staff we have; there needs to be an increase."
Willes said he would be willing to help Vineyard right now, if the council would consider adding staff to legal services when budget discussions came around.
"The staff will already have more significant concerns in the future with environmental issues," Willes said.
According to assistant city manager Stewart Taylor, the change will be made in an amendment to the services agreement between the two cities.
Gammon said that the agreement is renewed every year so, if there is a problem, the council has an opportunity to change its opinion.
"We are willing to work with you," Gammon told the council. But he thinks it would be in everyone's interest to coordinate the cities' efforts.