Provo pays more than a quarter of $1 million each month to pay for the iProvo project, and City Council members said they will have to hike utility bills to foot the bill.
At the public hearing Sept. 20 at Provo City Center, Mayor John Curtis said, “So the big issue tonight in the public hearing is how do we cover that liability? That $280,000 a month that we need to collect from our residents, what is the best way to do that?”
At the more than three-hour Council meeting Tuesday night, residents and officials proposed ways to up utility costs for residential, commercial and industrial users to pay off the debt. People at the meeting suggested other solutions like slashing the city budget or selling city property, but the council decided to raise utility bills instead. Curtis agrees that this is the most transparent way of charging those who live in Provo, allowing all residents to see exactly what they are being charged.
“Well, you sold the bonds… You have to pay the debt… Whether its fair or not is moot,” Provo taxpayer Melanie McCord said.
Few were excited to pay the cities’ debt, but the company that now runs what was iProvo sees nothing but benefits.
“It’s a technology of the future, I call it future safe. The ability to have that type of bandwidth to the home will bring all kinds of new technologies,” said Scott Nelson, Chief Operator of Veracity.
The utility bill increase is only paying for the debt on the fiber optic internet system. Those who actually want to use it must also pay a subscription fee.
“Its really expensive… And the service is really poor, I have not heard anybody that has liked it,” said Provo voter and taxpayer Ruth Nielsen.