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Do you have questions about the Provo Police, Fire, and City Facilities Bond? Let us find the answers for you.

14 registered questions

Name not shown inside Downtown

October 30, 2018, 5:02 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

It is always a balancing act between paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time to fully develop a large city project plan versus getting enough information for voters to feel like they are making an informed decision. The Recreation Center project was very complex because we were looking at services and programs that would be popular for users, cost factors, balancing things like a 25 m pool versus a 50 m pool, etc. So a robust feasibility study was important to decide what would be included in the Center and whether the revenues would support the costs. The Police, Fire & City Facilities Bond project was not as complicated – it is actually fairly straightforward. The City did a lot of groundwork for the project like space needs analyses, structural evaluations of the existing buildings, detailed cost estimates, etc. that have all been shared online and in dozens of public meetings, tours, and open houses. General schematics were all we had for the Recreation Center before the bond went public, and those that were shared at the time bore little resemblance to the final plan – which was actually much better. We have done about the same level of planning for this bond – just in a different way because it is a different project.

Name not shown inside Maeser

October 25, 2018, 5:10 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

East Bay was not considered as the options for available land or buildings are/were limited. One of the reasons the City looked elsewhere first was that it had been thought that possibly there were other available buildings that were in existence and readily available that would be less expensive than starting fresh downtown. As we studied buildings at the Riverwoods and the former Sears buildings, it became clear to the City no such building existed that would be overall cheaper in the long run, or did not meet the needs of the City.

For example, the Ancestry.com building was on the market and considered for a new City Hall, Police and Fire Headquarters. The asking price was $16 Million. The building offered roughly 100,000 square feet of space and would require a substantial remodel to make the building function for specialized spaces – Police Headquarters and Council Chamber. While certainly the existing 100,000 square feet is 38,000 square larger than what currently exists downtown, it would not accommodate current and future needs of the City Center functions without a substantial capital investment.

Although the Sears building was also heavily considered for a time, it was determined that it too would not be the best option in the long term – regarding cost and functionality.

Again thinking of East Bay, the vacancy rate is rather low. Yes, Micro Focus does have some space, but being at the top level of an office tower seems better suited for the private sector than City services.

Funding options for the City also provides a unique challenge. If the City were to find an ideal building, most likely the City would have to purchase the building because bond proceeds cannot be used for leasing a building. At present there is no identified funding source to take on an annual lease payment. To put this in perspective, the total square footage for the new building is estimated at 160,000 square feet. Using $20 a square foot on an annual basis, that would be a lease payment of $3.2 Million annually. As previously mentioned, there is no current identified funding source for the that amount without substantial budget cuts to General Fund funded departments.

With regard to downtown opportunities, redevelopment/economic development and making a positive impact on downtown – staying or going somewhere else still has its limitation. In all of the plans most recently considered, the Covey Center is staying put as well as fire station #1. Which means, the entire block was never fully available for redevelopment. The best estimates are that there is about one city block, where the City Center currently sits, available for redevelopment. The goal would be to have a mix of uses. Retail on the ground level facing Center street. Office, hospitality or residential on top of the retail or off of Center, deeper into the block or along 300 West or 100 South. And finally, parking, the newly redeveloped block would need ample parking to provide for the mix of uses- either at grade or in a parking deck.

Name not shown inside Maeser

October 18, 2018, 1:49 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

Utah Code Sections 20A-11-1201 to 1206 (Political Activities of Public Entities Act) is the primary authority governing cities' involvement in political activities. The basics of the Act include:
--No campaign activities (either for or against) should be conducted by City employees on City time or by using City resources.
--A City employee may campaign for or against on the employee's own time using his or her own resources, but not City resources.
--Elected officials (Mayor, Council Members) are not prohibited from campaigning or advocating for or against.

State law also specifically states that providing a brief statement about the City's position on the bond and the reason for that position is not prohibited. Provo City is allowed to provide neutral information - background and history, details of the bond, etc. - as long as it doesn't advocate voting a particular way on the bond. The website VoteProvo.com has been set up to deliver that kind of information to the public.

Name not shown inside Franklin

October 17, 2018, 6:45 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

A staff committee looked at many properties and existing buildings throughout the city. Most were founding lacking in some fundamental way. When the mall option was put forth, City leaders engaged the public and while there were many opinions, most indicated a preference for downtown. It is rare for a city hall to be built in industrial, light industrial, commercial places as opposed to downtowns which offer a mix of residential and commercial uses.

Name not shown inside Franklin

October 17, 2018, 6:39 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

If the bond does not pass, the space needs and structural needs will not go away and will need to be addressed. The current facilities will need potentially millions of dollars in repairs and upgrades and it will still be structurally, seismically deficient and too small and too old for the uses required of it. It is likely then that another bond will be proposed either in 2019 or later. City leaders will need to continue to search for appropriate solutions to theses needs. It is unlikely that any other funding method will work, so bonding is what is needed.

Name not shown inside Maeser

October 17, 2018, 3:57 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

Our public safety facilities have critical needs and we need to act now. Some of our needs are approaching, or have passed, the critical point. Due to construction inflation, the costs for a new City Center increase every year.

Council considered the following findings identified in the Architectural Nexus 2013 Space Needs Analysis for the existing city offices:
--- Seismic concerns - the building would likely collapse in a seismic event
--- The building systems, especially mechanical, electrical and roofing, are on the cusp of complete failure.
--- The information systems department, a backbone department of the City, is located in a space that would most certainly be lost in a catastrophic event. The cost of relocating this function to another part of the facility would be extremely high and the relocation process extremely difficult to execute.
--- ADA inadequacies
--- Virtually every department within the building lacks adequate space to do its work.
--- Building was already 41 years old in 2013
--- Building security is a serious concern

The 2012 Police Space Needs Analysis by McClaren, Wilson and Lawrie, Inc. (MWL) states, “Frankly, the ability of Provo City Center to adapt as well as it has to the sea [of] change of technology and operations of the past thirty years is a tribute to its original planning and ongoing maintenance.”

A 2016 structural assessment of the Provo City Center by Ensign Engineering reported, “Repairs now will add a few more years of useful life to the building, but overall the building is structurally outdated, and is not conducive to house emergency or governmental facilities in case of a natural disaster or other regional emergency.” Their summary states, “Because this building was designed and built prior to any significant emphasis on seismic resiliency, and because it houses Provo City’s emergency operations, it is recommended that the entire building be either upgraded to meet the current code mandated seismic performance criteria, or replaced. The citizens of Provo City will be best served if they know their city’s emergency operations facility will remain operational during a major seismic event.”

A limited remodel of the city offices would still leave some unresolved concerns:
--- High maintenance costs
--- The complex would need $5 million in upgrades if nothing else.
--- A funding source would need to be identified for those upgrades as this is not currently budgeted for.
--- ‘Kicks the can’ down the road/deferred maintenance
--- The 50-year old city hall has higher operational costs than a newer, more energy efficient building would
--- Parking continues to be a concern

Police Space Needs Analysis: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1MLFiCwO2aQ29OFKh6eTClKpKjN-8R_dy/view?usp=sharing
2013 study by Architectural Nexus: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JiGeiXfBMOg875Fc1mR1w_cCUM1t3Thp/view
2016 structural assessment by Ensign Engineering: (https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1OA0fW69TJ6ZtQsoCAegoKNbBRYgrDbNk)

Name not shown inside Downtown

October 17, 2018, 3:49 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

At the work meeting on October 9, Mayor Kaufusi and Council members discussed the options for locating new facilities downtown and issued the following statement:

The Mayor and Municipal Council of Provo presently and firmly intend to build the new police, fire, and city building on the same block as the current city building, but at the west end of the block, along 500 West.

While we’re open to other locations in Provo’s downtown and will take a careful look at meaningful opportunities, only a truly great alternative would entice us away from our present plan.

We are excited for the opportunity to bring new businesses, attractions, and vitality to Center Street once the current city building is gone. We look forward to exploring these possibilities in the near future.

Name not shown inside Downtown

October 17, 2018, 3:47 PM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

The City’s research and decision-making process has been in progress for several years; Wayne Parker, CAO, presented to the Council at their July 10, 2018, Work Meeting and outlined this process which started in 2013 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCEySzAM4Mo&feature=youtu.be&t=191). During their review of the city budget for fiscal year 2018, the Council discussed a possible property tax increase to address inflation, but ultimately did not begin the public hearing process to go through with that increase. The last property tax increase of this kind occurred in 2015; before that, an inflation increase had not been passed since 1991. The Council considers many factors as they approach property tax increases (such as timing of municipal elections and timing of school district property tax increases or bonding), and ultimately the Council felt that this time was the right time to pursue a bond to meet this critical need--with the possibility of a school district bond in the next few years and with interest rates and construction costs on the rise, the City desired to secure favorable terms for a bond and for the construction of a new facility.

Name not shown inside Downtown

October 17, 2018, 11:16 AM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

The bond would be paid through property tax revenues for no more than 20 years. The amount that your property tax would increase depends on the value of your property. We have a property tax calculator online at http://VoteProvo.com where you can enter the current value of your property and see the estimated increase. At the end of the 20 years, that tax increase is required by law to be removed. Utah County does offer some property tax breaks for persons who qualify. Go to http://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ClerkAud/Abatements.html for more information.

Name not shown inside Downtown

October 17, 2018, 11:15 AM

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Answer from Provo City Council office

New regulations on wastewater are requiring that costly changes to Provo's current wastewater treatment facilities be made. The City has been studying the wastewater issues, possible solutions, and the costs involved. Most recently, the discussion has been about how to implement a phased approach. Whether done as a pay-as-you-go project, a revenue bond, or by borrowing from the state, City leaders have expressed a desire to do it with the least burdensome impact on ratepayers. A phased approach will accomplish that regardless of the method used for funding. The wastewater treatment project would be funded by revenues from customers rather than through raising taxes. Regardless of the option to pay for the treatment plant, we anticipate sizable increases in the wastewater utility rates.

The City is working on a possible water loan from the State that would cost considerably less. We thought pay as you go would be the lowest cost until we learned from the State that we could possibly qualify for that loan. There is still work to be done, but we are working toward more concrete answers on the water treatment issue and discussions on location, phasing, costs, and funding are getting us closer to a concrete answer. The Council expects to hear an update on the loan at their December 11 work meeting, after Public Works has met with the State and is able to present to the Water Board. Because this will be done without using a general obligation bond, it won't be on a ballot.

Open City Hall is not a certified voting system or ballot box. As with any public comment process, participation in Open City Hall is voluntary. The questions in this record are not necessarily representative of the whole population, nor do they reflect the opinions of any government agency or elected officials.