Thursday, May 30, 2013

Council gets a look at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center Expansion

Photo by Utah Valley Regional Medical Center

The Council has received an update on expansion plans for Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. Steve Smoot, Vice-President of the Urban South Region, presented details on how the center is planning for the future, and asked the Council for input and feedback about those plans.

“We see ourselves as a community owned asset,” Smoot said in introductory remarks. “That’s why we have members of the community which sit on our board and represent all of you as we try to govern this asset.”

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center’s campus is like an aging, high mileage car, Smoot told the Council. Constant use of power and water, and providing a high level of care to patients can put a lot of wear on facilities. Smoot singled out the center’s tower, which was constructed in 1978, as particularly in need of replacement. Smoot said the tower will be among buildings first considered for replacement during planned expansion in 2015.

The Utah Valley Medical Center campus currently occupies 27 acres, and needs more space to accommodate the increasing care needs of the community. Smoot said the hospital administration has considered its options regarding where and how to expand the facility, and has settled on a strategy of “land banking” by buying up properties to the south of the current campus. Currently the center owns 78% of the homes in the expansion area, and plans on continuing to acquire properties in the zone.

Smoot spoke of the importance of working with the neighborhood to maintain a good relationship with the affected community, emphasizing the help and work of Jim Pettersson, the neighborhood chair of the affected area, as essential in helping the center communicate with the community.

“We’ve tried to maintain a neighborhood feel for this area as much as possible until we can move forward,” Smoot said. “We’ve been doing things like caring for the lawns of renters, setting up parks and trying to be good stewards rather than just letting things fall apart.”

The area in question is 12 to 15 acres, and will provide the space to accommodate expanding care needs. Smoot emphasized that since the center is using community resources to purchase the expansion properties, the administration has tried to be careful and wise about how they purchase properties.
Smoot indicated expansion is likely to take place in 2015, and that the administration would meet with the Council for further updates before that time.

Smoot also said Utah Valley Regional Medical has enjoyed its partnership with Provo City, which has been mutually beneficial to the community and to the hospital. He also mentioned hospital administrators were enthusiastic about the latest developments with Google Fiber and the future possibilities it provided for telemedicine and outpatient care.

If you have feedback for the Council regarding the expansion of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, leave a comment here, or contact your Council Member here

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Council discusses strategic plan for job creation

The Council discussed a draft of the first ever strategic plan for job creation and economic development during their work session Tuesday. The Council initiated the development of this plan over two years ago after adopting an legislative intent statement calling for an “…aggressive city-wide economic development strategy that refine[s] the economic development strategy of the City…” (Council Legislative Intent Statement 10)

Dixon Holmes, Provo city’s economic development director, discussed with the Council how his department saw this plan, emphasizing that it is more than just a retail plan, but is focused on long term job creation.
“This report is about creating opportunities for our environment in Provo to continue to thrive, and create and facilitate job creation,” Holmes said.

The report itself describes six key areas the Council and city can pursue to help further economic development as future goals for the city. Those specific objectives represented in the material presented are: 1) Organization and Business Environment; 2) Entrepreneurship and Innovation; 3) Workforce and Education; 4) Infrastructure; 5) Quality of Life; 6) Marketing.

Holmes emphasized the plan has a five-to-seven year outlook, and would be subject to modifications and corrections which would update the plan periodically to keep on track with the goal of job creation. The department also indicated a desire for feedback, comment, and suggestions from the Council.
The Council also discussed receiving a quarterly report from the economic development department, which would offer updates on progress of how the department was applying the plan.

Council Member Hal Miller described a key benefit of economic strategic plans, which he said, when harmonized with the Council’s vision, would provide guidance about businesses the city would welcome in the community.

“This plan gives you direction, but it also allows you to say no to some things that don’t agree with our vision as outlined in the plan,” Miller said. “This allows us to be a lot more strategic and directed, which is a good thing.”

There was some discussion of the appropriateness of topics presented in the report, with multiple members probing whether the six categories presented were comprehensive and complete reflections of a future vision of economic development.

The Council scheduled further discussion regarding the implementation of this plan for Council Meeting on June 2, 2013, 5:30pm. Do you have input you would like the Council to consider when reviewing this plan? Leave a comment on this post, or contact your member directly here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Deadline to file for 2013 Council Election fast approaching

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The filing deadline is fast approaching for citizens interested in running for Council to represent the following districts:
District 2 Council Member
District 5 Council Member
City-Wide I Council Member

Citizens must file a “Declaration of Candidacy” IN PERSON with the City Recorder between June 3, 2013 and June 7, 2013 at the Provo City Center, 351 West Center Street, Provo. On those days, the City Recorders office will be open Monday thru Thursday (June 3-6) between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm, and also Friday June 7, between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

To review further information, such as candidate qualifications, or to contact Janene Weiss, the City Recorder for further information, please visit:

Other relevant dates for candidates include:

  • Declaration of Candidacy Filing Dates: June 3-7, 2013 at 5pm
  • Early Voting/Primary Election (In City Recorder’s office): July 30 – Aug. 9, 2013
  • Primary Election Day: August 13, 2013
  • Early Voting/General Election (in City Recorder’s office): October 22 – October 31, 2013
  • General Election Day: November 5, 2013
  • Swearing in Ceremony: January 2014

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Council Minutes, Agendas, Documents Online

Want to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening with your local government? The Council has made available Council meeting minutes, documents and agendas for public viewing and download at 

Access to minutes, agendas, and documents aids residents who wish to receive early, relevant updates to information the Council uses to make policy decisions, and aids in transparency and open government. It also can keep you up to date about important community issues if you're unable to attend the meetings yourself. 

To send feedback to the Council about issues you discover in the documents, you can either leave a comment on this blog, or contact your Council Member directly here.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Council to Consider Solar Panel Ordinance

The Council is considering adoption of an ordinance regulating solar panels in Provo City.
During a recent work session meeting, Council Member Beck brought up the possibility of the Council revisiting a solar panel ordinance which was first  introduced in a public meeting on Jan. 18, 2010, but ultimately was not adopted. 

Since even in the short time since the Council first considered adopting the ordinance development in solar technology has allowed smaller panel units to output more power, Beck said the Council should revisit the permitted size of solar panels, which he plans on discussing in more detail during work session on Tuesday.

The ordinance was first proposed to address setting uniform standards in Provo for aesthetics, safety, considerations regarding “Net Metering” and Provo’s energy grid, zoning laws, and permitted size of solar panel energy generation units.

Provo currently allows the construction of solar panels with a building permit from the city, with no further regulation. The proposed ordinance reflects principles learned from other cities about how to establish guidelines for solar panel units which addresses the concerns of all parties.

Beck also said net metering is a large part of why many people are interested in solar panels, and which may lead to a growth in those utilizing the technology.

“Net metering allows residents to plug into Provo’s grid and input energy into the grid during peak solar collection hours, and then receive a credit which they may use during off-peak hours, when the sun isn't readily available,” Beck said.

According to the ordinance, in the future anyone wishing to utilize net metering by connecting to Provo’s grid must receive a building permit from the city, and see that their solar generation devices meet specified conditions described earlier. For safety reasons the ordinance also determines a licensed professional must install the device to ensure conformity to those standards.

If you have comments or feedback for the Council about solar panels, leave a comment here, or contact your Council Member directly here.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Council Discusses Adopting “Good Landlord” Program

The Council is considering the adoption of a “Good Landlord” program, modeled on successful versions of similar programs used by cities up and down the Wasatch Front.

 For several years the Council has considered a “Good Landlord” program to help educate and inform landlords operating in the city about policies and issues common to the business.

 The Council’s interest in the program is focused on how landlord programs can lead to a drop in crime. However, one of the Council’s longstanding concerns with adopting such a program is how to encourage landlords to participate.

 Discussion of the specifics of a “Good Landlord” program occurred at last week’s Council work session meeting, with a follow-up discussion to be held during this Tuesday’s meeting.

 Council members heard a proposal to adopt a “Good Landlord” program from former Ogden Mayor Matt Godfrey, President and CEO of “Better City”, a consulting group which helps cities implement “Good Landlord” programs.

 As an introduction, Godfrey briefly described his own experience with helping implement a good landlord program for Ogden city.

“We had a need for this in our community, as we had more rentals than was healthy, and it was causing stress,” Godfrey said.

 Godfrey described three common drivers which he said lead to the eventual implementation of a landlord program: 1) an increase in crime as a result of questionable renters; 2) devaluation in home values surrounding rental properties; and 3) a general increase in community concern for the situation.

 Council members discussed with Godfrey how rental properties use more in city services such as fire and police than do owner occupied, single family residences. Godfrey said studies show that single family residences in effect subsidize rental properties, as everyone’s tax dollars must pay for the increased use of city resources.

 “This is where good landlord programs can help make a difference,” Godfrey said.

 During further discussion Godfrey said “Good Landlord” programs should educate landlords to adopt set principles which will help them administer their property and screen tenants who will then use less city resources, overall helping everyone. The Council then discussed related costs of the program, and how it will be implemented.

 Several members expressed the desire to further study the presentation and data discussed during this meeting, and to obtain feedback from landlords and renters in their districts before making a decision about adopting a “Good Landlord” program. If you have feedback for the Council, leave a comment here, or contact your Council Member directly here.