Orem City Council got down to business Tuesday with a full council chamber.
Tuesday was the first time in more than a year that the council had met in the chambers and face to face with members of the community.
“As an outgoing people person, it’s great to be able to be more available for our citizens and have interaction with fellow elected officials and city management,” said Councilman Tom Macdonald.
The council have a very busy agenda and the chambers were full of residents supporting individuals involved in the meeting and to support topics of interest in the city.
“It was great to be together again,” said Mayor Richard Brunst. “We have a good camaraderie and it’s good to be with friends. We had people standing along the walls.”
Brunst noted that all of the council was completely vaccinated and they can still social distance on the dais.
Councilman David Spencer said he felt very comfortable back in his chair on the dais after a year away.
“It was very enjoyable to be in front of the people,” Spencer said. “It was good to be back in the chambers.”
Not only did the council meet together for the first time, it was announced in the meeting that Orem’s Summerfest celebration had been given the green light and received a mass gathering permit.
The permit allows Summerfest to return to pre-pandemic operations with rides, entertainment, boutiques, the parade and fireworks open completely to the public.
“The theme of this year’s Summerfest is ‘This is where you belong,’ ” said Ashley Mann, chairwoman of the event.
Summerfest begins at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 7 with the kickoff storytelling event at The Orchard at University Place mall. Events will continue each day throughout the week, culminating in the evening parade Saturday and fireworks at City Center Park.
To get a full calendar of events, visit http://summerfest.orem.org/events.
Public mic time
When it came to the public mic time, the two items people inquired most about included a high-rise development on 400 West and 1600 North.
Several people shared their concerns about the traffic, parking and height of the buildings being proposed.
They indicated that the State Street Master Plan should not allow large multi-family units to creep into the inner neighborhoods.
As is the custom, the council does not respond to the comments during the public mic time, but members do take notes for later.
According to Brunst, the residents will be meeting with the Planning Commission the first meeting in June.
The other topic that brought residents to the mic was the way the North Utah County Animal Shelter euthanizes animals, through the use of a gas chamber.
Brunst has indicated he has received more than 40 emails from residents concerned about the archaic practice.
One resident noted that there are only four chambers being used in the entire country and two are in Utah.
There are 11 Utah County cities that contract with the shelter and the residents are appealing to all those cities to ask the shelter to stop using gas and to start euthanizing by injection as is done in most other places.
Several residents are concerned that using the chambers is a more painful way for animals to be put down and they can suffer up to 30 minutes in the death process. Injections are quicker and more humane, according to resident comments.
The city has been looking into the matter, according to Jamie Davidson, city manager. He indicated that a representative from the shelter has been invited to an upcoming council work session to address the matter.