Murray and Centerville vote down controversial Utopia deal

By Brian Carlson

Published 06/24 2014 10:37PM

Updated 06/25 2014 05:22AM

MURRAY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Murray and Centerville voted down a controversial plan on Tuesday to provide high speed Internet to their residents and deal with a multi-million dollar debt. They're part of a conglomerate of 11 Utah cities all dealing with the high-speed high-debt deal.

It's coming down to the wire where the 11 cities have to make a decision on how handle their high speed Internet problem. They originally came together to make a deal to give people in their cities great Internet access. It sounds good, but it hasn't worked. Now they all share a mountain of debt.
Murray was even thinking of making everyone in the city pay a part of it, but city leaders decided that wasn't a good idea.

On Tuesday the Murray City Council unanimously voted down a proposal to make Internet a mandatory utility fee.

"There are citizens who couldn't afford that service right now and they didn't feel it was appropriate to impose that utility fee to those people that couldn't afford it and didn't want it or couldn't use it," said Ted Eyre, Murray City Mayor.

The Mayor of Murray tells Reporter Brian Carlson the vote also strikes down a plan to move forward on a deal with 11 other cities with the Macquarie Capitol Group that would've provided fiber optic internet from Utopia to homes and businesses in city limits.

The Centerville City Council also voted down the proposal on Tuesday.

"There were provisions with the proposal that they didn't care for," said Eyre.

Murray, Centerville and other cities are left with a more than decade old $245 million dollar debt on the original plans for the Utopia deal. So far plans haven't worked like expected and now cities like Murray, Lindon, Centerville and Payson are opting out. Five cities including Tremonton, Brigham City, Midvale, West Valley City and Layton are sticking to it, and votes are still pending from Orem and Perry.

Even though the cities are choosing different ways to deal with their internet situation, they eventually have to come to a consensus.

"Our bond debt is all together so we can't separate ourselves from those cities because of that inter-local agreement and because of our combined bond issues that we have," said Eyre.

ABC 4 Utah is told Orem and Perry will vote on the deal on Thursday.

Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @briancarlsontv

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