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Local News
Wasatch County
Heber, Midway and Wasatch County

Heber City To Hire Lobbyist to Seek Extra Stimulus Money

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Heber Valley Chamber of Commerce
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Heber City will hire a lobbyist in hopes of securing a larger chunk of federal stimulus money than the $1.9 million it’s already received.

 

  

In a meeting in mid-August, Heber City Council approved spending $100,000 on a contract. Heber City manager Matt Brower said he sees this year as a rare opportunity to get a big financial boost as the city launches some big-ticket projects. He hopes the lobbyist can help bring in a seven-figure grant for upcoming projects.

Officials hope the lobbyist can help secure more funds that would come from money the federal government gave states for city grants.

The grant opportunity is a $50 million fund called “GOED” for Governor’s Office of Economic Development. It comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act that was passed in March.

“Heber City’s received $1.9 million in direct monies from the feds, and we’re going to try to leverage that for 1.9 or more from the GOED monies,” Brower said. “ We hope to leverage the lobbyist to receive even more monies for our water and sewer line project, and so if we’re able to get even a million dollars more, and we spend $100,000 to do that, I’d take that every day of the week and twice on Friday in the return on investment.”

The city is looking ahead to the first phase of a project that would replace water and sewer lines within 121 blocks in the Old Town area. Brower said the first phase of this will cost $24 million, and the stimulus funds would first go toward that.

He said the federal government has stated the GOED money is designed, in part, for projects involving water and sewer lines.

The 121 blocks that need infrastructure replacements are within what the city has designated as a community reinvestment area, or CRA. Heber plans to redevelop an 80-acre zone over the next 20 years there. A state initiative allows the city to divert extra tax revenues it generates within the CRA boundary to be reinvested in more redevelopment there.

Brower said the city selected Utah-based firm Legislative Executive Consulting out of four applicants for the close ties LEC has to state legislators.

“It’s hiring the right lobbyist who has the right relationships with key members of the Legislature, both in the House and the Senate, and it’s in those relationships and in the conversations that take place where Heber is being seen more seriously and being considered more seriously for, perhaps, an earmark for our project,” he said.

Before proposing the idea to the city council, he heard from multiple nearby cities that have successfully lobbied for extra money using consultants. Those include Park City, Wasatch and Summit counties, Orem and Provo.

Park City, Orem and the Mountainland Association of Governments have also contracted with LEC.

Aside from the American Rescue Plan Act, Brower said there are multiple other federal stimulus and general spending initiatives the federal government is sponsoring this year. He hopes a lobbyist can obtain more money for the city from those as well.

The city will look to get the additional funding during the legislative session in early 2022.

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