The UTA recently released a report that UTOPIA will be calling on tax pledges this year. They cite an April statement from Murray Mayor Dan Snarr as their sole evidence. “At this point in time, no tax dollars have been used on this project. That may change, and we may need to help pay for some of the operations until there are enough customers to cover expenses.” Rep. Craig Frank was all too willing to quickly attach himself to this report as solid truth. The problem for the UTA (and by extension Rep. Frank), however, is that this is their only evidence, this statement has been repeated over and over since the refinancing (elected officials need to hedge their bets), and there’s no way it would be possible for UTOPIA to call on pledge dollars anytime this year.
The facts are simple. UTOPIA does not have a bond payment due from operating revenue until June 2010. There is absolutely no possible way that they can legally call on the sales tax pledges this year as the UTA asserts. Elected officials have been saying the same thing as Mayor Snarr for the last year to cover their own butts in a worst case scenario. The UTA is just trying to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt without citing any new or relevant facts. It’s scaremongering, pure and simple.
If UTOPIA is really doing so poorly, how is it that they managed to sign on Integra Telecom, a company that measures its revenues in the hundreds of millions? Don’t you think a company of that caliber (which is likely going to bring in hundreds of thousands or millions in new revenue) would do their due diligence? And how is it that there’s no criticism for city-owner power or the horrendously botched sale of iProvo? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Seems like you folks like to reserve your criticism for easy targets.