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Heber weighs construction budget adjustments amid ‘extraordinary inflationary pressures’

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

With major construction projects ahead for Heber, leaders are working to balance rising costs with the community’s needs.

As the Heber City Council prepares to approve its fiscal year 2025 budget, leaders say they’re trying to keep costs in check for expensive but necessary capital improvement projects.

That includes the central Heber water and sewer replacement project – a yearslong initiative to replace the city’s aging pipes – and plans to expand the city cemetery.

City manager Matt Brower said steep inflation and supply chain issues have driven up construction costs across the board. That’s delaying the start date for this summer’s phase of water and sewer line replacements.

“That’s why we contract for the work each year. So we can get our hands around the inflationary impacts and see what our budget is and only do what we can afford,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is [over]extend ourselves and not have the money to pay for the project.”

As a result, Brower said the city may not be able to complete every road originally scheduled for this phase. He said construction should begin within the next couple of weeks.

A major construction project for the Heber cemetery is also slated for discussion at Tuesday's meeting. Much like the water and sewer project, the bids for a columbarium to store cremation urns were significantly more expensive than the city originally estimated.

The council has come up with cost reductions and loans within the city budget to help cover the difference and Brower said it’s imperative to move the project forward now.

“The longer we wait, the more costly this project is going to be,” he said.

Cemetery construction could begin as soon as next month.

The Heber City Council meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 4. The agenda includes a public hearing related to the budget for the next fiscal year.

The average Heber household is likely to see a property tax increase of about $37 for the year. There will be a separate Truth in Taxation hearing about the increase before the final budget adoption in August.

Details about Tuesday’s meeting and a link to attend online are available online.