Heber City Residents Comment on Downtown Redevelopment Plan
Residents nearly filled all the seats in Heber City Town Hall to offer mixed input on a proposed budget and project area for development around their Main Street.
The public hearing at Heber City Hall Tuesday was an opportunity to comment on the general topic of future development in town, as well as specific details for a major redevelopment project under consideration. The city is calling the project “Envision Heber City.”
The hearing began with a video presentation explaining the concept of a community reinvestment area, or CRA, as a financial tool the city can use to generate money by allocating property tax revenues for reinvestment.
Benj Becker, who is vice president of Zions Public Finance andthe city’s financial consultant on the CRA, said the initiative could raise an estimated $36.2 million in tax revenue over 20 years. He stressed that the CRA strategy would not raise tax rates or change how residents are taxed. He said it would only affect how taxing agencies in town, such as the city and school district, would use the funds.
One resident said his property taxes have risen by as much as 23% annually over the past five years. He was also not convinced the properties within the CRA would produce the revenue increments the plan predicts.
Chiming in via Zoom, another said he would prefer the city focus on reducing traffic on Main Street. In response, Mayor Kelleen Potter said the Utah Department of Transportation is working on a possible bypass route around the city, and the Envision Heber project will not be at the expense of Main Street improvements.
Tom Stone of the Community Alliance for Main Street said he and the alliance support the CRA and project.
Later, a resident said after spending years in Orem during a period of heavy development, she did not support the project in Heber City. Her concerns included increased water scarcity and pollution she feared the construction could bring.
Randy Sand, an economic development consultant, said the CRA could produce more tax income than the estimation of $36.2 million. A resident who used to live in Ogden said the benefits he saw from new projects there helped him support the Envision Heber project.
The public hearing lasted over an hour.
According to city manager Matt Brower, the council could vote on the project area and whether to use the CRA approach for the project budget next meeting on July 20. It did not discuss any alternatives to the CRA approach for financing redevelopment of the area.