An April bond election for a proposed special events center at Utah Valley Community College hinges on the governor assuring the Utah County Commission planning money will be available for the project.
Gov. Norm Bangerter last week vetoed a line in the state appropriations act passed by the Legislature in February for $592,200 in capital projects planning money. That includes $50,000 for a physical education building at UVCC. Bangerter vetoed the items, saying there is two years' worth of construction already planned.The planning money earmarked for UVCC was to also be used for an events center on campus should voters approve a $7.7 million bond in a special election currently scheduled for April 9. The college wants to combine it with the physical education facility for total cost of nearly $18 million. The state would pay for the physical education building.
"The governor is supportive of the project and has indicated that to legislators," Francine Giani, Bangerter's spokeswoman, said Wednesday. "This should not hold up the project at all. The governor said the money will be there."
In a news conference last Tuesday morning, supporters of the events center said UVCC had received $50,000 from the Legislature. Bangerter announced the planning money veto for all capital projects later that same day.
College administrators and local legislators said they now anticipate getting the funds during a special session of the Legislature April 17. The commission wants the governor's word in writing.
State budget director Dale Hatch said for the money to be appropriated, the UVCC project doesn't necessarily have to be on the special session agenda. He said other funding sources are available, such as the Department of Facilities, Construction and Management, which oversees state building projects.
Commissioner Gary Herbert said that unless the commission receives a letter from the governor's office soon stating the money will be appropriated, the election will be rescheduled.
"Our whole position from the beginning has been based on that $50,000. If it's not available, then we will postpone the election and hold it in the fall," Commissioner Malcolm Beck said.
Commissioners agreed that the sole purpose of holding the election April 9 is because UVCC officials said the planning money is available and the planners need to know what kind of facility to design.
Giani said the fact that the money is not available now "shouldn't be a stumbling block." She said the governor indicated the county should go ahead with the election.Commissioners discussed Bangerter's veto of the planning money publicly for the first time at Wednesday's commission meeting, although college officials and legislators knew about it last week. Bob Wright, an Orem resident who opposes the bond election, introduced the issue and asked the commission to cancel the election because the planning money is not there.
"We knew about it, but we didn't say anything," said Dick Chappell, vice president for administrative services and planning. He said the college was hoping Bangerter would resolve the question before the bond election by informing the commission he intends to appropriate the money next month.
"We don't want this money to be a factor in this election," said Sen. LeRay McAllister, R-Orem.
McAllister said nothing was made of the issue last week because "we hadn't fully established (Bangerter's) position."