If Tuesday’s initial election results are an indication of voting trends in Orem, the city will start construction next year on two major projects.
As of Tuesday, results released by the Utah County Elections office shows 5,269 in favor of the bond with 3,604 voting no.
Voters were deciding on whether the city will have a $24.5 million bond to help refurbish the Orem Fitness Center and add an extension to the library known as Library Hall.
“Arts and recreation have been a significant part of Orem’s history," said Steven Downs, city spokesman. "With this historic election, it will be an equally large part of Orem’s future!”
Downs said, “This project began and ended with the residents of Orem. These projects were requested in multiple citizen surveys, and the results tonight make it clear that residents are willing to make the necessary investment to make the projects happen.”
The bond would help improve the city’s fitness center, including construction of a suspended track, a community events room, indoor playground and all ancillary and related improvements. The indoor pools would stay open during the project.
The bond will also provide for a new 20,000-square-foot library hall that includes a stage with seating for up to 500 patrons, a classroom and exhibit space.
If the bond is passed, architects told the council both projects would break ground in summer 2019, with the library hall addition having its grand opening in summer 2020.
The grand opening of the renovated fitness center is projected for winter 2021.
The bond would be paid back in 30 years, with no increase in taxes because of two other general obligation bonds being paid off, one by the end of this year, the other in 2025, according to Brenn Bybee, assistant city manager. The bond can also be paid back early.
In a recent citizen survey conducted by the city, more than 60 percent of those responding said they would vote for the bond. It also shows by those who have used the facilities that 90 percent of the public would directly benefit from the projects.
“We are bringing $8 million of private donations and CARE (Cultural, Arts, Recreation and Education tax) contributions to help keep the annual payments as low as possible, which will result in no increase to a homeowner’s taxes,” Downs said during an interview July 31.
According to Laura Lewis, Orem’s financial adviser and partner at Lewis Young Robertson & Burningham, the financial stability of the city is beneficial. She noted that recently Orem received a AAA bond rating by Fitch Ratings.