I hope you had a happy holiday season. I would like to give you a recap of some of the Orem highlights from last year.
As we promised, in 2022 we hit the ground running. As a newly elected mayor, I was amazed at the full-time hours needed for this “part-time” position. One year ago I promised to do what I could to put Orem back on track and move it in the right direction. Like many of you, I was upset with the high-density, high-rise developments being pushed down State Street on top of our family neighborhoods.
As a result, our first priority as a City Council was to address that problem by changing the State Street Master Plan, effectively eliminating 10,000 rental apartments, and preserving Orem’s family neighborhoods. After a lot of hard work, we made that happen.
We also promised to bring a new level of transparency between Orem citizens and their city government. We created a transparency portal that provides a wealth of information to our residents. We will continue to improve and expand this resource. We want you to know, what is happening in your city and how it affects you personally.
One of the more controversial paths we went down was allowing a conversation about the pros and cons of an Orem School District. For the first time in history, the residents of Orem were allowed to vote on this topic. I am glad we gave them that choice.
I promised when I ran that I would put our citizens first and push back against ANY unnecessary tax increases. When I found out that Alpine School District planned to tax Orem Citizens $116 Million Dollars and provide them with only $16 Million in benefits, that did not strike me as
a good idea. As a result, we did everything we could to inform our voters they were about to be taxed $100 million dollars and get nothing in return. In an unprecedented move, our city council even passed a resolution AGAINST the almost $600 Million Dollar Bond. Our residents got the message and for the first time in history an ASD bond was defeated, and by 48 of the 50 precincts in Orem. That translates into tremendous tax savings over the next 17 years for our residents.
More tax savings included securing outside funding of $10 Million for Orem’s Water Reuse Conservation Project and $1.7 Million for Lakeview Park.
With our increased focus on incorporating the values of Family City U.S.A into all of our decisions, we are constructing several new parks and playgrounds. Hillcrest Park will be a community center featuring a splash pad, pickle ball courts, and playgrounds. Heritage Park helps us prepare for the future with the construction of a 10 million-gallon water tank that will be buried under the park itself. Scera Park now has a fun new toddler playground.
Finally, we want an environment that allows all city employees to be the best at what they do and provide excellent service to the public. Our new City Center Building is going to help facilitate that and solve a host of other earthquake concerns. Most important, there will be NO ADDITIONAL taxes raised for this project.
Together we can move our community forward responsibly and in a better direction. We will continue to work towards our number one priority which is to align the people of Orem, the City Council, and Orem City Management to create the best Orem possible.
I hope you have an amazing 2023!