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Friday, April 09, 2004


Utah: Cedar City Council declines to back UTOPIA financially -- even with local contributions

Ed Kociela writes in the Spectrum describing the Cedar City, Utah Council meeting:
"Even with more than half of the first year's contingency money on the table, the three City Council members who voted down a measure to become a charter member of UTOPIA did not change their vote Wednesday night."

"Kirk Jones, who led a grassroots drive to raise the $617,000 the city would have needed as initial contingency money to bring the high-speed, broadband telecommunications system to Cedar City, said his group has raised $350,000 from 101 residents -- a significant jump from the $75,000 the group had raised as of Monday."

"'If we had more time, we would have had all of the money,' Jones said."

"Last night's council meeting was the most highly attended session in more than a decade, with the chambers filled and chairs set up in the lobby to accommodate the overflow crowd of mostly pro-UTOPIA residents."

"For two hours, the council heard comments aimed at persuading either Joe Burgess, Dale Brinkerhoff or Raymond Green to change their mind and reopen the project for another vote. The council then decided to forward a measure to become a non-pledging member of UTOPIA, meaning that the city would not have to put up any contingency money in the future, but would not be allowed to share in any profits UTOPIA earns and would have to wait until all of the charter cities are up and running on the system before work begins to bring it here. Green said that would solve the technology problem without the city putting up any money."

Ed goes on to describe the dynamics of the meeting. Given that local citizens were had already coughed up half the money needed and were confident they could come up with all of it, it's a bit hard to see why the three council members wouldn't give them a little more time. I wonder if they were under some external pressure or inducement to vote as they did. I suspect others may be wondering the same thing.


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