Orem's financial trends may not be perfect, but they are helping the City Council and staff plan a little better for the future.

The city is using the Financial Trend Monitoring System, which was developed by the International City Management Association to help cities decide if they are headed in the right direction.Orem City Treasurer Dean Nickels said, "This year's FTMS indicators show the overall good health of the economic conditions of the community."

Orem uses 29 of the 36 possible indicators, based on their relevance to the city's financial system.

The system is different than forecasting possible future events. It instead looks at what has happened over the past few years to indicate some kind of trend in a particular category.

Nickels pointed out a few areas that show strength and one particular area of weakness that the city should be wary of.

"The level of capital outlay in the community will have to be looked at," Nickels said.

Capital outlay is the money set aside to replace worn equipment or add new equipment to the city.

In a report to the city, Nickels wrote, "The level of capital is a rough indication of whether or not the stock of equipment is being maintained in good condition."

The outcome of this is that the if city could have obsolete equipment and that equipment will be less and less productive if funding is conintued at current levels.

Other positive indicators in the city are that property taxes have fallen for the fourth straight year, and personal income has increased for the third straight year.

Nickels said the city's general fund was down "due to decisions by the City Council to fund economic development." But those funds are beginning to replenish themselves again.

One good outcome of the initial depletion of the general fund is that it seems the number of jobs offered annually in Orem has increased substantially.

"We have done really well with job growth, and over the past three years, the number of jobs available in Orem has taken a dramatic rise," Nickels said. "It looks good on the community."

The report emphasizes that the information is not meant to be the definitive statement on the financial condition of the indicator being measured or of the city as a whole.

"The primary purpose of the FTMS is to act as a catalyst and to allow the reader to ask pertinent questions regarding a specific trend and to identify long-term fiscal problems," Nickels wrote.