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Letter: Is UTOPIA fee really a tax?
First Published Jul 15 2014 04:02 pm • Last Updated Jul 15 2014 04:58 pm

Five of the original 11 cities may drop out of the 12-year-old money pit called UTOPIA. The remaining six cities may vote to proceed with Macquarie Capital’s additional study at a cost of nearly $1 million. The six cities would be required to pay for that study if Macquarie does not receive the contract. Wait, cities don’t have any money, only taxpayers do.

UTOPIA and its proposed partner Macquarie will require every resident and business to pay a mandatory $20 monthly "available" fee when UTOPIA is installed, whether they use the fiber-optic line or not. If a customer wants to use UTOPIA, they must also pay a provider an installation charge to install a connection from the fiber-optic line to their desired location, and an additional monthly provider fee between $35 and $85 per month. UTOPIA is not a utility. Utilities require a signed customer service agreement and contract before they will provide service, and utilities do not charge for just existing in a city. The $20 fee appears to be a tax that the residence of West Valley City did not vote for. Will that fee be legal?

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Richard N. Gilbert

West Valley City

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