But the agreement wasn't a formal vote of the City Council. The council rather gave its verbal consent to the bond issue, and there was no public hearing to find out if residents wanted the city to go further into debt to support UTOPIA.
Richard B. Manning, the city's administrative services director, said a public hearing wasn't necessary because the bonding is part of the city's $65 million commitment to the network. He said the public would have a chance to weigh in on the issue when the city conducts a public hearing on the 2014 fiscal year budget later this year.
But others think the city should have done a public hearing.
Ryan Roberts, the Utah State Auditor's local government supervisor, said the city needs to have a public hearing on any budget changes before the money is spent.
Joel Campbell, an associate professor of print journalism at Brigham Young University and a nationally-recognized open-government advocate, said the city's actions violated the spirit of the Open and Public Meetings Act, at the very least.
"UTOPIA is such a big deal that it warrants an open debate," Campbell said. "They need to stop playing in the shadows of the law."
Campbell said the issue should have been put on the agenda as a formal action item, with a public hearing.