Orem's voter turnout increased 350% using the vote-by-mail system.   Thank you to all those that participated!

And then there were 5 . . .

The primary election took us from 10 candidates down to 6 candidates. Those six candidates are Hans Andersen, Debby Lauret, Sam Lentz, Mark Seastrand, Claude Richards, and Tai Riser. Tai Riser has since dropped out of the race, leaving just 5 candidates.  

Information about each of these candidates, including videos and short bios can be found at our election HQ:

For 2015 General Election, everything will work basically the same.  There will be 5 candidates on the ballot, and you will be able to choose up to 3.

In addition to the City Council election, the County will also have a question on the ballot regarding a sales tax increase that will be dedicated towards transportation improvements throughout each City and Utah County.
    When:  October 6th @ 6:30 PM
    Where:  The SCERA
    Host:  The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce
    Moderator : Rona Rahlf, President 

The doors will open at 6:00 PM and the debate will go from 6:30 - 8:00 PM.  Before and after the debate, the candidates will be available to visit with outside the theater.   Please come and hear from the individuals that want to represent you on the City Council.
Jive Communications Plans to Build Corporate Headquarters in Orem

Citizens of Orem have expressed their desire to keep and create high-paying jobs in our community.  

This week the City Council gave the green light to Jive Communications to build their corporate headquarters along the freeway at approximately 1200 N. and 1200 W.  Jive was founded in 2006, and provides enterprise-grade Hosted VoIP and Unified Communications to businesses and institutions. Jive is rapidly becoming the standard for business communications worldwide.

Jive is considered a "primary employer," which means that the majority of their products or services are exported out of the region, thus bringing new money from outside the area into the local economy.

Jive started in Orem in office space on south State Street.  The company has grown by more than 100% annually for the last three years, and they have chosen to remain in Orem and continue to invest in our community!

Over the next five years they are projected to create an additional 570 jobs, which will mean that a total of approximately $131 million in new wages will be pumped into our local economy!

Utility Rates and Master Plan Update

Approximately a year and a half ago, the City Council unanimously requested that a master plan be created which will identify the needs of our infrastructure system and help determine how we plan for our future.

Bowen Collins and Associates has completed the study and is finalizing the plan.  They have presented the needs to our City Council and what the rates need to be in order to keep up with the necessary repairs and construction projects. 

The City held two open houses where representatives from city departments, Bowen Collins, and other stakeholders were present to discuss the plans.  

The City Council has not made any decision and are still reviewing the proposed projects and determining how they can most responsibly proceed knowing what the needs are and how the rate changes might impact Orem residents.

A lot of misinformation has been spread regarding the utility rates.  The City of Orem is not proposing to build a storage tank for Vineyard and they are not proposing to subsidize developers in SW Orem.  For more information regarding these master plans and the discussions so far, please visit utilities.orem.org.

Transportation Master Plan Update

The City has been studying how to improve transportation throughout the City.  A lot of citizen feedback has been received to-date, and there are opportunities to continue to give feedback throughout the rest of this week.  

To view the information that was presented at the last open house and to give feedback on some of the proposed future projects, please visit the website that was created for this projects,  http://www.oremtmp.com/

For almost a year we have been studying how we can improve the safety, mobility, and long-term viability of one of the busiest corridors in Orem.  A lot of public involvement, meetings, stakeholder meetings, and other ways have been used to engage people on what they feel will best serve the public for years to come.

A draft master plan has now been created and is available.  You can view the draft by visiting www.reinventstatestreet.com


Earlier in the week I parked my car at an office building and went in to a meeting. When I came out, I noticed a shiny new copper penny on the surface of the parking lot. As I have reflected on this item, I thought of the Quarter Cent Local Option Sales Tax for the maintenance and rebuilding of our local and county roads.

Earlier this year the Utah State Legislature passed HB362 for transportation infrastructure funding. This is the first change to the gas tax revenue stream since 1997. Since that time, we have lost 40 percent of our purchasing power due to inflation, effectively making a 24.5 cents per gallon tax in 1997 worth only 14.7 cents per gallon today
HB362 has two parts to it. The first part, effective January 1, 2016, will convert the current 24.5 cents per gallon state gas tax to a 12 percent tax with a $2.45 rack price floor. This is the equivalent of a five cents per gallon increase. There is also a fixed floor and ceiling on this tax. The second part is a Local Option Sales Tax that will cost taxpayers one copper penny for every $4 spent on sales in Utah County. This part would be put on the ballot and voted on by the voters in each county sometime in the future.

This revenue would be split 40 percent directly to the cities to spend as needed on roads, 20 percent to the county for the same purpose, and 40 percent to the Utah Transit Authority to spend on transit items in each community - such as trails and walkways, more frequency of service of buses and trains, more times of service, and more resources to serve the county communities.

Since 1997 our communities in this county have grown by more than 10 percent, while our revenues for our roads have decreased by 40 percent. Earlier this week I attended an event put on by Envision Utah where we discussed how our state is set to double in population in the next 35 years.

If we continue to see our buying power for the maintenance of our roads decline while at the same time our population continues to increase, how will we be able to keep up as communities in servicing the transportation needs of our citizens and businesses? I am not in favor of raising taxes, but I am in favor of taking care of our assets and providing a well maintained transportation system for efficient movement of those who live and work in our cities and county. This is a tax to provide for the future transportation needs of our community. If we don't reinvest, we won't have roads worth driving on and using.

Recently Orem rebuilt a portion of 8th East, which I travel down each day. The city is set to rebuild Center Street on the west side of Orem. It is important to keep up on the roads in each of our cities. If not, it will create major problems for the movement of traffic and economic development and bring higher costs in later years. It is important that we provide for the future of our community. We are set to double in size. We need to take care of our assets to handle that kind of increase. Our land size is not going to double, but our population will. This will put tremendous pressure on our city and community's roads and infrastructure.

I believe that we need to approve the Local Option Transportation Sales Tax to give our local communities a tool to address their needs for today and into the future. Years ago when the pioneers came across the plains, they would plant crops for those after them to harvest and eat. I believe today we also need to invest and plan to provide for those who come after us in our wonderful communities.

- Mayor Brunst