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Heber City Council approves preliminary budget; tax increase expected

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

The Heber City Council approved next year’s preliminary budget Tuesday, May 7. Residents will likely pay more in property taxes.

In total, the city plans to spend $69 million in the 2025 fiscal year, which starts in July.

That’s a roughly 20% decrease from last year’s budget, which city manager Matt Brower attributes to progress on expensive capital projects over the past year, such as the eastern bypass road.

Next year, the city will spend a little under $34 million on capital projects, including an ongoing project to replace the city’s aging water infrastructure and a range of road improvement projects. A full breakdown of next year’s capital spending is available on the city’s website.

There is a budget deficit of $278,000. The council opted to raise property taxes based on that number, so the average household can expect to pay about $37 more for the year.

Councilmember Mike Johnston said it’s the city’s responsibility to keep up with the cost of providing services. He pointed out that income tax and sales tax automatically increase with inflation, so he says property taxes should be adjusted too.

“I’ve always been of the mind that we do our citizens a disservice if we are trying to not adequately fund the services that they expect us to provide,” he said. “Some people make it a political thing, but I think we need to always stay up with inflation – at least.”

Another option would have raised taxes more incrementally, based on inflation rates.

Councilmember Yvonne Barney said she disagreed with the steeper, deficit-based tax hike because Heber residents are under pressure from the high cost of living.

“There’s a whole community out there that’s struggling as it is,” she said. “I would prefer to just do what we need to – inflation – because we have a lot of other things coming at them.”

But the council ultimately decided to cover the deficit. Residents will get more details about a property tax increase and can give feedback at a Truth in Taxation hearing in August before the final budget adoption.

In the meantime, the city council will share more and hear from residents at a public hearing on the overall budget during its meeting June 4.