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Heber to consider utility bill relief program for residents 66 and over

A view of the Heber City government building
Grace Doerfler / KPCW
A view of the Heber City government building

The Heber City Council will discuss whether to create a relief program to offset utility costs for those 66 and over.

The program would provide tax abatements to older adults on fixed incomes in Heber.

With rising utility rates, more older residents are struggling to make ends meet.

Heber City manager Matt Brower said the proposal is modeled after Utah’s program that provides property tax abatements.

“We’d use the same criteria in establishing qualifications for the abatement of utility fees,” he said.

The program, if it moves forward, would help residents 66 and older who fall beneath a certain income threshold. A cap would set the maximum those residents would pay in utility bills.

Brower said the proposal could affect dozens of residents.

“My staff has researched a number of Heber residents that currently qualify for the property tax abatement program, and it is currently just under 80 people,” he said.

He said part of the council’s discussion Tuesday will center on how the city would fund such a program.

It would apply to water, sewer, stormwater and pressurized irrigation bills.

“Staff did run a scenario… capping the utilities at $80 or $85 a month,” Brower said. “The city would have to determine how they would cover that cost, whether it be sold within those respective enterprise funds, whether it be subsidized with the general fund, whether it simply be written off.”

That would mean an average savings of $20 to $40 per month for eligible residents.

The proposal is on the council’s work agenda; no official decisions will be made, it’s just up for discussion. The council’s conversation will gauge whether the proposal should move forward for formal consideration.

The Heber City Council work session begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 19. The full agenda and a link to attend virtually are available online.