Thursday, October 29, 2020

Letter from Members of the Provo City Council in Support of Proposition 9

Letter of Support for Proposition 9:

Shall Utah County adopt the alternate form of government known as the Executive – Council (also
known as the Mayor – Council) as recommended in the proposed optional plan?
As members of the Provo City Council, we encourage all eligible voters in our city and
surrounding communities to vote in favor of Proposition 9.

Proposition 9 will replace our county government’s current form from three full-time
commissioners, who handle both administrative and legislative functions, to five part-time
councilors with legislative powers and a single full-time mayor overseeing the
administrative operations.

We support this change because it will improve the quality of representation and
create checks and balances through the separation of powers. This form is used at the
federal, state, and municipal levels of government. Similarly, it will work well at the
county level.

Some have claimed that passing Prop 9 will make the county government cost more.
Just the opposite is true. The proposition will reduce the net cost by over $250,000 by
replacing two full-time with five part-time positions. The size and cost of government
have the potential to grow in the future regardless of the form we use. Cache County,
which has been using this form of government for 35 years, is in the bottom three
counties state-wide for taxes and fees per capita.

Vote “YES” for Prop 9, for a more responsible and responsive county government.

Provo City Councilors
George Handley
David Harding
David Sewell
Bill Fillmore
Shannon Ellsworth
David Shipley



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Comment below (requires Google account), on our Facebook page, through our online comment form, or by contacting Council Members directly. Comments/input on items appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda will be compiled and provided to Council Members the day before the meeting. **Note - your comments will be part of the public record.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020

PROVO CITY EMBRACES STATE PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER

The Provo City Municipal Council tonight expressed support for Governor Herbert’s new Public Health Order and called on all persons in the city to follow the Utah State Health Guidance Levels as recently enacted. Noting that Utah County has moved to defer to the state’s Public Health Order, the Provo City Municipal Council tonight voted to follow their lead by rescinding the city’s recent COVID-19 response ordinance.


Over the past week it became apparent that there was confusion with the overlap of Provo’s COVID-19 ordinance, Utah County’s health order, and Utah’s public health order. All three contained mask requirements as well as limits to social or public gatherings.


The Council continues to support the guidance of public health officials regarding wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, following restrictions on social gatherings, and practicing good hygiene. As Governor Herbert pointed out, social gatherings continue to be the source of more outbreaks and slowing our return to more normal activity. 


While case counts in Provo have plateaued, the surge is now hitting our hospitals. Because of this, we aim to provide better protection for Provo residents and visitors by reducing the chance of confusion over multiple sets of restrictions. We support the move by the Governor Herbert and the Utah Coronavirus Task Force to establish guidance based on public health metrics.


Here is what this means:

  • Utah’s Health Guidance Levels are in effect and have placed all of Utah County in the “high transmission” level 

    • Masks are required

    • Social gatherings limited to 10 or fewer

    • Physical distancing, practicing good hygiene, and staying home when sick are recommended


Council Chair George Handley stated, “Tonight’s decision is not a change in our feelings about the seriousness of the pandemic and the need for strict compliance with health guidelines. We are grateful for the guidelines that the State has now put in place. The Council is prepared to act to protect our citizens if needed, we’ll continue to be vigilant and revisit it if conditions warrant.”


“I applaud the Provo City Council for eliminating confusion for our citizens by repealing their mask mandate to follow the State’s new COVID-19 health order. This action creates a unity between Provo City, Utah County and the State of Utah that will better protect community health,” said Mayor Michelle Kaufusi.




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Comment below (requires Google account), on our Facebook page, through our online comment form, or by contacting Council Members directly. Comments/input on items appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda will be compiled and provided to Council Members the day before the meeting. **Note - your comments will be part of the public record.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Citizens Agenda for Meetings on October 20, 2020

Citizens Agenda

Council meeting agendas are often difficult for people to navigate. Filled with jargon and legal requirements on how an item must be listed, it can be a challenge to determine what Council members are actually discussing or deciding on. 

What follows is a staff interpretation of the agendas. 

The official published agendas and supporting materials can be found here:  http://agendas.provo.org 


Due to the risks of public gathering associated with the spread of COVID-19, these meetings will be conducted entirely via electronic means. For information on how to view the meetings and how to contribute public comments, visit our blog: http://www.provocitycouncil.com/2020/03/virtual-provo-city-council-meetings.html


PROVO MUNICIPAL COUNCIL

Work Meeting Agenda

1:00 pm, Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Work Meetings are designed to be a less formal venue for discussion among Council Members. Generally, no public input is taken during the meeting.


Business


  1. A presentation regarding the 2020 4th Quarter Financial Report. (20-137)

    • Staff will provide to the Municipal Council a high level overview of the revenues and expenses for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020. 

  2. An update from Fire Chief Miguel regarding protective equipment purchased with CARES Act funding, plans for Fire Station 21, and needs for the Airport. (20-136)

    • Fire Chief Jim Miguel will update the Council regarding the following topics: protective equipment purchases with CARES Act funding, Fire Station 21 plans, Airport needs.

  3. A discussion regarding proposed amendments from the Sign Committee to Provo City Code regarding electronic sign hold times and permitted locations. (20-101)

    • This item is a continuation of the discussion from July 7, 2020. The Sign Committee has spent the last year reviewing Provo City's policy regarding electronic signs. At the suggestion of the committee, the Council approved an ordinance prohibiting electronic signs in residential and agricultural zones in October 2019. The committee is now bringing a second proposal to the Council for consideration. 

    • The committee proposes that Provo be divided into three areas: 

      • 1. areas where digital signs are prohibited 

      • 2. areas where long hold times no shorter than one hour are permitted 

      • 3. areas where short hold times no shorter than one minute are permitted (unless the sign is in an SC3 zone and represents 20 or more tenants, in which case the shortest permitted hold time would be 15 seconds) 

    • Digital Sign Hold Time Principles v6 gives more details and outlines where each would be applied. After reviewing the available academic literature and visiting with local business owners, the committee believes that this is the best compromise between Provo's commitment to public safety and the need to create an environment where local businesses can thrive. A more thorough explanation of the rationale behind this proposal, including a short list of studies consulted, is available in the Digital Sign Ordinance Preamble. In Provo City Code, the current long hold time is that a sign may change up to three times per day. The short hold time is eight seconds, which is the most common hold time in neighboring cities.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Support for the Provo School District Bond

RESOLUTION 2020-33

 

A RESOLUTION OUTLINING SUPPORT FOR THE PROVO SCHOOL DISTRICT GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND. (20-115)

 

WHEREAS, the Municipal Council recognizes the value of an educated citizenry and that the educational facilities must foster a positive learning environment; and

 

WHEREAS, the current operating budget of the Provo School District cannot support the much-needed repairs to Timpview without taking financial resources away from educational opportunities for students and meaningful resources from faculty; and

 

WHEREAS, Timpview High School is already showing signs of deterioration due to ground subsidence and some of the buildings are no longer safe to be occupied; and

 

WHEREAS, Provo School District has diligently studied the issue of building replacement and reconstruction and concluded this is the least expensive option with the minimum disruption to both students, faculty, and residents in the neighborhood surrounding Timpview High School; and

 

WHEREAS, Provo School District has been notified by Utah State Risk Management that due to the condition of Timpview High School insuring the facility has become an untenable risk, and without insurance there is a likelihood that Timpview will need to be shut down in its entirety; and

 

WHEREAS, Provo School District is being fiscally responsible in pursuing a General Obligation Bond as the most economical way to correct the problems at Timpview High School; and

 

WHEREAS, if this General Obligation Bond does not pass, more expensive and intrusive means will need to be undertaken to correct the issues at Timpview High School, which will lead to the disruption to students, families, faculty, and residents across the entire school district.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that we, the members of the Provo City Municipal Council, express our support for the Provo School District General Obligation Bond.



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Comment below (requires Google account), on our Facebook page, through our online comment form, or by contacting Council Members directly. Comments/input on items appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda will be compiled and provided to Council Members the day before the meeting. **Note - your comments will be part of the public record.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Citizens Agenda for Meetings on October 6, 2020

Citizens Agenda

Council meeting agendas are often difficult for people to navigate. Filled with jargon and legal requirements on how an item must be listed, it can be a challenge to determine what Council members are actually discussing or deciding on. 

What follows is a staff interpretation of the agendas. 

The official published agendas and supporting materials can be found here:  http://agendas.provo.org 


Due to the risks of public gathering associated with the spread of COVID-19, these meetings will be conducted entirely via electronic means. For information on how to view the meetings and how to contribute public comments, visit our blog: http://www.provocitycouncil.com/2020/03/virtual-provo-city-council-meetings.html


PROVO MUNICIPAL COUNCIL

Work Meeting Agenda

12:00 pm, Tuesday, , 2020


Work Meetings are designed to be a less formal venue for discussion among Council Members. Generally, no public input is taken during the meeting.


Business


  1. An update on the new Airport Terminal. (20-234)

    • Council update on the new Airport terminal design and construction plan. The update will include discussion on financial timing and potential UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) and internal loans.

  2. A presentation regarding the development application process. (20-225)

    • Bill Peperone, Director of Development Services, and Gary McGinn, Director of Community and Neighborhood Services, are giving an overview of the development processes from the administrative point of view. They will cover what the processes are for a developer from the initial application through the Planning Commission and the Council. This presentation will include the processes for a simple rezone to large multi-unit projects. 

  3. A presentation from the Public Gatherings Committee on proposed changes to Section 6.20 of Provo City Code (Public Assemblies and Special Events). (20-223)

    • At the July 7, 2020 Council Work meeting there was a discussion about the permitting process for public gatherings and demonstrations. This was in response to the demonstration in Provo that led to the shooting of a driver when they became surrounded by demonstrators. The Council created a subcommittee to look at Provo City’s current ordinance regarding the permitting of such activities to see if more could be done to help regulate these activities to protect the general public’s safety. After several meetings, the committee made changes to the ordinance. The ordinance regulates the use of traditional forums. The committee looked at the use of these spaces and decided it would be best to treat expressive speech such as political speech differently than commercial speech such as the Freedom Festival. What is before you is an enhanced section guaranteeing the rights of expressive speech, while balancing the need for public safety. Included is a definition of a spontaneous event, banning the protesting in front of individual residents, and a definition of what types of expressive speech events need a permit before they can take place. There is also some language to clarify existing language and to come into compliance with new Court rulings since the ordinance was last updated.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Mask Ordinance Referendum Questions

A referendum has been filed seeking to have Ordinance 2020-36V, regarding civil infractions and requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic, referred to voters for their approval or disapproval. The proposition information pamphlet is available online.

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions:

  • How do I learn more about the referendum?
    • The Proposition Information Pamphlet can be found here: https://www.provo.org/home/showdocument?id=18838
      • The referendum application (shows who filed) can be found on pages 2-3.
      • The sponsors' argument against the ordinance is found on page 8.
      • Provo City's argument for the ordinance is found on page 9.
  • Is the mask requirement unconstitutional?
    • All constitutional rights are subject to the government's authority to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the community. This authority is called the "police power." 
    • The case of Jacobson v Massachusetts established where legislative "police powers" are derived from. In that case, the Supreme Court upheld a smallpox vaccination requirement in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The court wrote, "There are manifold restraints to which every person is necessarily subject for the common good. On any other basis, organized society could not exist without safety to its members." 
  • Do masks count as a medical device or medical treatment?
    • According to BMJ (aka British Medical Journal), "We use the term 'medical mask' to refer to a device that meets particular standards and is intended primarily for healthcare workers (but may also be recommended for the public). The term 'face covering' refers to anything that covers the face, including homemade or commercially sold coverings (typically made of cloth, but sometimes from paper or other materials) intended primarily for the public."
    • "Framed medically, a face covering is either personal protective equipment (to protect the wearer) or a means of source control (to prevent the spread of illness)."
  • What are the requirements for the referendum to be successful?
    • The group will need to collect 3,200 certified signatures (Utah County certifies whether or not the signatures are valid), with a certain percentage of those signatures from four of the five Council districts. Signature packets must be turned in to Utah County before 5:00 pm on Monday, November 9
    • If successful, the item would appear on the ballot in November 2021.

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Comment below (requires Google account), on our Facebook page, through our online comment form, or by contacting Council Members directly. Comments/input on items appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda will be compiled and provided to Council Members the day before the meeting. **Note - your comments will be part of the public record.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Provo's COVID-19 Mask Ordinance (updated 9/16/2020)

The ordinance is in now in effect.

NOTES TO THIS UPDATE:

(1) August 27, 2020 - The Provo City Council voted 6-1 to override the Mayor's veto of the ordinance. It contains a sunset provision of November 15, 2020.

(2) August 31, 2020 - Pursuant to Utah Code 20A-7-6, a petition to gather signatures to put the ordinance to referendum has been filed. The state code provides time limits for all steps in the process, including signature gathering, verification of signatures, and determination whether sufficient signatures were obtained. Depending on when signature gathering commences, how much time is required to gather signatures and for the County to verify signatures, the estimated latest date that determination could be made is December 11, 2020. If effort is successful, the ordinance would be suspended pending a referendum to be held next year (2021).

(3) September 15, 2020 - The Provo City Council unanimously approved some amendments to the ordinance to clarify some things.

On August 25, 2020, the Provo City Council unanimously approved an ordinance regarding the use of masks in Provo in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 by requiring all individuals within Provo, Utah, to wear face coverings while (1) in indoor public spaces* and when not maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from individuals not residing in the same household, (2) in attendance at large outdoor gatherings where social distancing is not possible, reasonable, or prudent, and (3) in attendance at large indoor gatherings. 

* "Indoor public spaces" means any building or indoor area, including businesses and government buildings, that authorizes, permits, or invites anyone who is not an employee, resident, or owner of the building or indoor area, to enter in order to conduct business, recreate, or otherwise use the facilities provided therein. This does not include the interior of any private dwelling (i.e., your home).

The full text of the updated ordinance itself can be found online.


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this ordinance:

What the ordinance does and does not do?
  • The ordinance requires individuals to wear face coverings and/or practice social distancing in publicly accessible spaces with specific requirements that vary depending on:
    • whether an individual is indoors or outdoors
    • the size of gatherings
  • The ordinance requires businesses to post signage of the face covering and social distancing requirements.
  • The ordinance requires organizers of public gatherings to require attendees to wear face coverings and to provide clear signage of the face covering and social distancing requirements.
  • The ordinance DOES NOT BAN activities or public gatherings.
  • The ordinance DOES NOT require masks at home or in your yard, on public streets, sidewalks, or parking lots (unless the size of gatherings clause necessitates).
  • The ordinance provides numerous exemptions for individuals (see Who is Exempt? below)

Why the mandate?

  • To protect lives and livelihoods. Many studies have shown that the higher the percentage of people who wear face coverings and practice social distancing, the lower the incidence of COVID-19 transmission in the community. Debunking common mask myths.
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Why now?

  • Recent projections by BYU researchers indicated that without high levels of compliance with standards for wearing masks and socially distancing, the return of some 70,000 university students to Provo and Orem will result in significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in these communities. While there are mask requirements on campuses, until now there have been no community-wide restrictions off campus. The interactions and interconnectedness between students, businesses, and year-round residents will increase dramatically now that our students have returned.