Exclusive: Payson Not Showing at UTOPIA Board Meetings

For quite some time now, Payson has seemed to be afflicted with a huge case of buyer’s remorse about UTOPIA. Back in 2008, they opted to not participate in the new round of bonding and later punted on joining the UIA. (Who knows if they’ll even come up with the matching funds to participate in the federal stimulus either.) The biggest shocker, though, comes from a review of UTOPIA board minutes. A review of these shows that Payson’s UTOPIA board member hasn’t been showing up to many of the meetings, even when one was held in Payson at what I can imagine was great inconvenience to the members of the other cities.

My review of the minutes shows that in 2009, Payson did not attend nine of the monthly board meetings. In 2010, eight meetings were missed. Neither of the 2011 board meetings with available minutes show that Payson was in attendance, and I’m willing to bet that the others that I don’t have minutes for would show a similar pattern. Making it to just five meetings in over two years is abysmal, especially when there’s the option to participate via phone.

Given the large amount of stranded investment in the city and Payson’s large financial commitments to the network, this seems like a total abdication of their responsibility to city taxpayers. Shouldn’t they be making an effort to get the network covering both operational costs and debt service? Wouldn’t it be prudent to set aside money for participating in the UIA, money that is guaranteed to be paid back by subscribers and utilize infrastructure already in the ground? Why would Payson do an ostrich impersonation in the face of the harsh fiscal realities?

If I were a resident of Payson, I’d be out for blood. Contact Councilman Brad Daley and let him know that if he’s going to be on the board, he has a responsibility to show up to meetings and do the people’s work, especially since he voted for UTOPIA in the first place. If he won’t do it, it’s time to pressure Mayor Rick Moore to find someone who will.

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4 Responses to Exclusive: Payson Not Showing at UTOPIA Board Meetings

  1. Alex G says:

    How many houses have been connected in Payson, What about West Valley, where is the open to public map of fiber (up to date) so the citizens can see where service is available and where its not? What is the average cost of a mile of fiber for 2010 or 2011, where all this info and why is it impossible to get, while utopia uses our money why can’t we get what we want? I don’t like comcast or quest, but how long should I wait for utopia to get to my house its been over 10 years.

    • Jesse says:

      As I understand it, very few houses in Payson or WVC currently have service, but 60% of Payson has fiber and conduit in the ground. The only missing piece is the electronics. Had the city council chosen to join and fund UIA, those who wanted service would have been able to get it. Until then, you’re basically stuck.

      If you’re looking for where service is available, go to broadband.utah.gov and use their map to find out. It’s updated at least quarterly with new filings from all service providers, UTOPIA and otherwise. It currently gets down to the census block level of detail, so a specific address may not have service even if it shows on the map.

      As far as financial information, have you tried filing a GRAMA request with UTOPIA to get that information? I’m sure that if you did, they would be happy to find and share the raw data with you.

  2. Alex G says:

    Will try grama. As to WVC having very few services and funds the hell out of utopia, maybe Payson is doing something right, since funding or not funding equals same results, I think when utopia gets a dollar (or guaranty by a city bound) of our money city should have exact responsibility written for that dollar, and a stiff penalties.

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