While the health of the national economy is generating mixed opinions, Provo city is optimistically approaching the new fiscal year by creating a sustainable budget.
Mayor John Curtis recently met with Provo citizens to discuss the proposed 2012 budget. Curtis said he is pleased with the work that has been done by his team and is optimistic about the upcoming year.
“To prepare for our budget we start internally, by having our employees join us. They have expertise and act as the guardians of our residents,” Curtis said. “We put together employee budget teams and a year ago we had to cut $5.4 million out. Almost 100 percent of our budget cuts were put forth by employees … I’m pleased that our directors did a great job sticking with our flat-line budget.”
For the previous 20 years, power costs stayed the same for Provo residents and from the savings a $10 million reserve was created. These past couple years it had to be used as a rate stabilization fund for power rates, and for the up-coming year residents will see a slight increase in their power bills.
Even with the slight increase Curtis is impressed with the work that has been done to create a flat-line budget that could in best terms sustain Provo for the next 20 years.
“It’s possible because very wise stewards prepared infrastructure,” Curtis said. “We have carefully determined what costs are necessary. I have never seen such a well-oiled machine, and that’s no small feat.”
Curtis said there are many changes being made to the Provo image.
“I hope in many ways that this re-branding of Provo will give more than just a new look to Provo,” Curtis said. “$150 million is being invested in downtown Provo, most of it coming from private funds, not government.”
Curtis also said it is important to stand behind Provo airport’s new endeavor.
“We must have Frontier Airlines succeed here. Citizens need to stand behind it,” Curtis said. “If it is successful then more lines will join and will fly to six to 12 destination cities. The goal isn’t to be like Salt Lake City International. Everybody in the Provo airport will be on your flight, and if they’re not then the plane is probably delayed. June 21 will mark the first Frontier flight leaving to Denver.”