Mayor Kaufusi calls Provo ‘blessed’ in State of the City address

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Mayor Kaufusi gives her State of the City address, remarking on the progress Provo has made. (Lexie Flickinger)

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi began her State of the City address Feb. 19 by thanking the council members and reminding the audience that everything done for the city is done in partnership with others.

Kaufusi remarked on how quickly her first year in office flew by and noted that when she became mayor, Provo City was involved in several lawsuits against Utah County.

She focused primarily on one that involved Utah County attempting to sell the Provo Peaks Olympic ice rink. She said that through several conversations with the county commissioner the city was able to take complete control of rink.

”We are not having to subsidize its operations. That’s right, no Provo City tax funds are being used for the ice arena operations,” Kaufusi said.

By sparing the site from being demolished for other uses, Kaufusi said the city saved the legacy of the Olympics, something she said she thinks is especially important after hearing about the possibility of the Olympics returning to Utah.

Kaufusi praised Provo-based tech company Qualtrics for recently selling shares of the company for $8 billion.

”Provo is a hot bed for incubating new tech startups,” Kaufusi said.

Kaufusi spoke about the ballot initiative during November’s midterm elections in which the people elected to approve a bond to help build a new police and fire station facility. She said the two departments greatly appreciate the citizens choice to move forward with the bond.

”We will strive to honor your trust by building a police, fire and city headquarters you can be very proud of,” Kaufusi said.

Kaufusi announced the city will create a new department in the new city buildings called the Department of Development Services, which she hopes can be a one-stop shop for those working on construction projects in Provo.

Citing her first State of the City address, where she said she expressed concerns over Provo’s waste water treatment plant and that young professionals don’t feel welcome, Kaufusi told the audience how she now looks for ways to secure young single professionals and looks for opportunities to use their talents to help the city.

About water waste, Kaufusi said Provo City was able to secure a state loan of nearly $79 million with nearly $2 million in principle forgiveness and an interest rate of .5 percent.

“With this victory in hand, I’m thrilled to announce that plans are underway to build the new waste water facility,” Kaufusi said.

Kaufusi praised the new Sorenson Tower at Utah Valley Hospital, the Fourth District Courthouse that opened in downtown Provo and the UVX bus line connecting the city.

“Provo is pressing forward into the future,” Kaufusi said.

Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners was honored with a moment of silence at the event, where Kaufusi told the audience that Provo has not experienced an officer killed in the line of duty since the 1880s.

Kaufusi said the city is thankful for the citizens’ support of the new facilities and that the city relies on its quiet citizens to go about doing good.

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