The Heber City Council authorized itself on Tuesday to serve as the city’s community reinvestment board.
The Utah State Legislature recently passed new rules that allow cities to reappropriate tax dollars and invest in community redevelopment agencies (CRAs).
The CRA works with the school district to take existing tax dollars and reappropriate that money to redevelopment in specific areas identified in Heber City.
Councilor Rachel Kahler said creating a CRA is a 20-to-30-year reinvestment plan that will ultimately bring more tax dollars to the school district. The city council submitted survey areas to the state for approval.
"We're looking at the Main Street downtown area plus up to 200 East and down to 200 West, also looking at 100 South 600 West, and that would be around the Heber Valley Railroad area, and then also the north end, so where we've got Smith’s and the Heber Appliance area,” she said. “And then what we expect to see Smith's Marketplace and more commercial development on the north end, and then south end where Walmart is but also down Daniels Road, and then up 1200 South, which we have seen great commercial growth there."
She said the next step is to get approval from the school district to set aside tax revenues to be used in the defined survey area.
"Once that is defined, and we arrange that and do all the paperwork and all the legalities of it, we will start pulling that what would normally go to the school district and those tax dollars would go into a fund that then the city would be able to purchase property or work with a business owner to redevelop his building or remodel his building,” Kahler said.
Kahler said Heber's downtown needs improvement but that the city currently doesn’t have the money to do it.
"So, this allows us to grow commercial development, and then in the long run, the school district will actually get that those dollars back,” she said. “Then they'll get the addition of whatever tax dollars come in because of the redevelopment. … St. George has been very effective in their CRA. And there's been several other cities. It's a fairly new program, so I think we're two years into the state legislation. But what we've seen in other states is it's been very effective for redevelopment."
The next Heber City Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20.