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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

Recently, I had the incredible honor of representing Provo at the Milken Institute Global Conference, where I participated in a panel discussion titled "Lessons from America's Best-Performing Cities." It was an enriching experience to share the stage with other distinguished mayors and to spotlight Provo on a global platform.

During the panel, I was asked to describe what makes Provo a top-performing city. My phrase was "leap of faith." This encapsulates our approach to governance and community building. In Provo, we aim high, take calculated risks, and rally as a team to achieve big, impactful projects. This philosophy has guided us through many challenges, always striving to make our community stronger and more vibrant.

Below, you can read about what I shared during the panel, highlighting why Provo stands out as a top-performing city.

Community and Resilience

One of the key topics discussed was how Provo maintains low levels of income inequality and high resilience to economic and natural disasters. I emphasized our community’s ethos, captured in our motto: "Welcome Home." This is more than a slogan—it’s a way of life. We know our neighbors by name, offer exceptional care, and work together to ensure everyone feels included and supported. Our collective efforts are driven by the belief that everyone deserves a place to call home, and a community that cares deeply about their well-being.

Lessons from the Pandemic

I was asked to reflect on the lessons learned from the pandemic and I shared our unique approach to keeping Provo safe and active. Unlike many other places, we kept our parks and recreation centers open, adapting with innovative measures to ensure safety. Our community's willingness to embrace the outdoors and maintain social connections in a responsible way played a crucial role in our successful handling of the pandemic. This approach not only safeguarded our health but also reinforced our community bonds.

Looking to the Future

Looking ahead, I spoke about balancing immediate needs with long-term visionary goals. It’s essential to validate our current concerns while striving for ambitious projects that will benefit future generations. A poignant example was our successful push for a new public safety building—a project that seemed like political suicide but was necessary for the well-being of our public servants. This leap of faith was a testament to our commitment to doing what is right, even when it’s tough.

Affordable Housing Initiatives

Affordable housing is a pressing issue nationwide, and Provo is no exception. Drawing from my own experiences growing up in a modest household, I understand the struggles many face. That’s why we’re taking proactive steps to address this issue locally. We're working on innovative projects, such as workforce housing initiatives, to ensure that those who serve our community can afford to live here. These efforts are small yet significant steps towards a more inclusive and supportive community.

What Keeps Me Up at Night

Finally, what keeps me up at night is the well-being of our residents. My decisions are deeply influenced by the needs of those around me, including the widows on my street and others on fixed incomes. Ensuring that basic services like water, electricity, and safety are reliably provided is my utmost priority. Every decision I make is with the thought of how it will impact my neighbors and, by extension, our entire community.

In conclusion, attending the Milken Institute Global Conference was a proud moment for Provo. It was an opportunity to highlight our achievements, share our strategies, and reaffirm our commitment to being a welcoming and resilient community. I am honored to serve as your mayor and to work alongside all of you in making Provo the best place to call home.

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This Saturday, June 1st, our city will proudly host the Utah Valley Marathon, an event that showcases the beauty of our landscapes while fostering community spirit and promoting fitness. As your mayor, I am thrilled to welcome participants and spectators alike to this fantastic gathering. However, with such a large event, there come necessary adjustments to our usual traffic patterns. Here’s everything you need to know to navigate around Provo smoothly this weekend.

Marathon Route and Road Closures

The marathon will wind through Provo Canyon, down University Avenue, and conclude at Center Street in downtown Provo. These locations will be focal points of activity and, as such, will experience road closures.

  • Center Street from 100 West to 100 East will be closed from Friday at 4:00 PM until Saturday at 2:00 PM.

  • University Avenue from 300 South to 100 North will also be closed from Friday at 4:00 PM until Saturday at 2:00 PM.

  • University Avenue from 4800 North to the Flyover at 800 North in Orem will be closed on Saturday from 6:00 AM until 2:00 PM.

Detours to Follow to Avoid Long Wait Times

  • Northbound traffic on University Avenue is advised to detour west at 4800 North, proceed to State Street, and then north up to 800 North in Orem to access Provo Canyon.

  • Southbound and southwest traffic exiting Provo Canyon should detour west at 800 North Orem, as there will be no access to University Avenue.

  • Crossing University Avenue traffic should use the 300 South detour. 300 S is highly suggested for Eastbound and Westbound traffic to avoid long waits at main intersections. You may cross University Avenue at main intersections between 6:00 AM and 2:00 PM. However, expect long wait times. Officers will assist with crossing when possible.

Plan for extra travel time if you need to be in or near the affected areas.

Let’s Enjoy the Marathon Together

While the marathon may cause temporary disruptions, it also brings excitement and community pride. I encourage everyone to support our runners, whether by cheering them on along the route or volunteering at event stations. Let’s show the world the warmth and hospitality that Provo is known for. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we host this wonderful event. Together, we can make it a safe and successful day for everyone involved.

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  • Writer's pictureMichelle

As your Mayor, it is both a privilege and a duty to ensure that our city thrives through careful planning and thoughtful budgeting. I am pleased to share that I have presented the proposed Provo City budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2025 to the Provo City Municipal Council. This budget reflects hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of hard work and dedication of many individuals within our city's departments. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to our finance team, including John Borget, Kelsey Zarbock, and Andrea Wright, who have been in my office on a regular basis for months, exploring options and chasing down answers for me.

My goal has always been to deliver a budget that meets the needs and priorities of our community while maintaining fiscal responsibility. I am proud to say that this proposed budget accomplishes several key priorities without initiating any tax increases or utility fee hikes. Here are the main highlights:

  1. Additional Police Officers: We are funding two additional police officer positions to enhance the safety and security of our community.

  2. Parking Enforcement: An additional parking enforcement officer position will be funded to improve parking management throughout the city.

  3. Zoning Update: We will fund a comprehensive update to our zoning regulations to support smart growth and development.

  4. Employee Retention: Appropriate adjustments will be made to retain our talented and dedicated city employees.

  5. Maintaining Services and Projects: We will continue to deliver the efficient and valued services, projects, and programs that our residents rely on.

My reasons for putting forward a budget with no utility-fee increases include the following:

First, my Chief Administrative Officer advises that utility fee adjustments generally be handled separately from the budget process going forward. This will allow the administration and council to focus during budget season on current funding—rather than requiring us to anticipate dozens of alternative scenarios. Second, and of great importance to me, is that this is such a tough financial season for so many of our residents. You have been hit by increases on many fronts, including most significantly, the large property tax increases implemented by other taxing entities. For some time, we have looked forward to giving our residents a reprieve from increases. I believe that day has arrived.

Pulling this budget together was certainly not easy. I had to say no to things I would have loved to include. We had to tighten our belts. And the hunt for more efficient operations has not ended.

I look forward to the City Council's consideration of this balanced budget and am grateful for their collaboration and dedication. Together, as "One Provo," we will continue to refine our processes and strive for excellence in serving our community.

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