Once again the topic of UTOPIA was back on the table at Tremonton City Council. The council listened to public comment and then decided to move forward with Macquarie into Milestone 2 (four milestones total).
About 10 years ago Tremonton became one of 11 cities to join UTOPIA, which would provide a fiber optic network for internet, TV and phone services. The network was only 90 percent completed, with very few residents able to use it. Since the network is operating at a loss, UTOPIA cities have fallen into debt and Macquarie, a leading provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services, has been suggested as a potential solution to UTOPIA’s problems.
Councilman Byron Wood added, “We are all against mandates, we don’t want to force anyone into anything, but we are on the hook for those bonds that are tied to tax revenue. There is no way to get out of it. Macquarie entered the scene in hopes to gain revenue. It’s a good quality product, we all hate mandates but it’s an answer to our prayers. We are going to pay for it (UTOPIA) one way or another ($12M) this way you at least get a product, the other way you are paying for nothing.”
Councilwoman Diana Doutre made the motion to proceed into milestone 2, she said, “I don’t do that lightly. I have seen both sides of this and I think it’s going to be a good thing.” Holmgren, who seconded the motion, commended the council for spending countless hours studying UTOPIA, attending meetings and reading articles.
Of the 11 UTOPIA cities, Tremonton, Midvale, West Valley and Layton have all agreed to proceed with milestone 2. Lindon City Council unanimously opted out, with a few other cities still up in the air.
For more details and to see what local residents had to say during public comment time, pick up a copy of next week’s paper.