Apr 18

Preparing for Flooding

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 5:07 PM by Anthon Beales

As the Mayor of Heber,  I am concerned about the potential for anything that could cause harm or destruction in our city.  With such a large snowpack this year and a cold spring it is time to consider the possibility of flooding and prepare accordingly.  Hopefully the weather will warm up slowly and the snow will melt at a rate that will not cause problems but we are prepared in case things don’t go as planned. 

Heber’s emergency management director has been working with the emergency management directors from Wasatch County and Midway City.  We have a strong team of people watching the weather and flood warnings carefully. There are several things that can be done as citizens to help protect your home and neighborhood. 

First, if you live near a canal or ditch keep an eye out for anything that might obstruct the water flow.  Our public works department will be inspecting all of these waterways but it also helps to have more eyes watching in case something is missed or changes after it has been inspected.  If you see an obstruction of any kind in a canal or ditch please call Heber City public works and report the location.  The phone number is: 435-654-3275.

Second, if you are concerned about flooding there are sand bags available at Ace, Heber Ranch and Do It Best.  If you purchase the bags they will fill them for you.  Each of these stores has a large supply but it is best to be proactive and get these in place before any flooding begins. 

The city has 300 sand bags filled ready to go and another 20,000 ready to be filled at a moments notice.  Wasatch County and Midway are similarly prepared.  If you have an emergency and need help our city employees will respond as quickly as possible.  Again, it is always best to take care of your own needs but the city will do everything we can to help in time of emergency. 

Finally, sign up with the city and county’s emergency notification systems.  This will ensure you are notified quickly in the event of any emergency.  The city website is heberut.gov and there is a link “community alerts” where you can enter your contact information and be notified of emergencies.  The county website is Wasatch.utah.gov and there is an emergency management link where you can sign up for the Emergency Notification system as well as read the pamphlet the county has provided for emergency preparedness.


Apr 09

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

Posted on April 9, 2019 at 10:41 AM by Anthon Beales

A MESSAGE FROM OUR MAYOR -

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” -  J.R.R. Tolkien

As everyone is aware the big story in Heber and the State of Utah right now is growth. Growth isn’t exactly a live dragon but can certainly wreak havoc on a community if it isn’t anticipated and planned for. We are in the middle of some significant planning efforts that will help shape the future of this city for decades to come.

Recently we held the first public workshop for Envision Heber 2050. State law requires every city to have a general plan that is a blue print of sorts representing the wishes of the community and helps guide elected officials and staff to fulfill that vision. Our general plan is outdated and this process is addressing it. May 15th will be Public Open House #1: Big Ideas and Choosing. Mark your Calendar!

We have recently completed a study to look at alternatives for Main Street. This process will continue as we seek funding for an environmental study. The recommended alignment is not set in stone and the environmental study will continue to analyze the options. 

Finally, we are also beginning an Airport Master Plan update. The FAA requires airport sponsors to complete this process and they are currently withholding funding until we complete it. This will also be a very public process and you will have opportunity to see the data and give input before the study is complete.

We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful city full of people who truly care about their community. At city hall we are committed to better communication and outreach than ever before. I urge each city resident to get more involved in helping us navigate the challenges of growth and ensure that we are planning for the dragon in a way that will maintain our quality of life in Heber City. As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns – my office phone number is 435-657-7982, or email at kpotter@heberut.gov.




May 16

Heber City Growth and Annexation

Posted on May 16, 2018 at 2:22 PM by Anthon Beales

As the Mayor of Heber City, I am happy to see a lot of meaningful discussion surrounding growth and annexation in Wasatch County. These are important decisions that will impact the future of our valley for decades. I appreciate residents becoming educated about these complex issues. 

ANNEXATION OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

Heber City recently adopted a new annexation policy plan—a plan that could appear to be alarming without proper context. The annexation area includes a significant amount of land in the North Village area near the UVU Wasatch Campus. Over the past couple of decades, the Wasatch County Council—acting as the land-use authority—has granted a certain level of density to the area known as the North Village. With this vested density, the land owners may pursue one of three paths: (1) remain in the unincorporated area of Wasatch County and develop with the already-granted density, (2) annex into Heber City with the same level of density, or (3) band together to create a new city altogether.

As the Mayor of Heber City, I believe it is imperative that we carefully consider the impact these developments will have on Heber City and ultimately on our entire valley. In 26 of the 29 counties in Utah, people who want to develop are required to annex into an existing city and utilize existing municipal services. Wasatch County is unique in that special service districts provide services like sewer and water so people can develop urban-like areas in the county. 
While I respect the judgement and decisions of previous county officials, I believe Heber City needs to address the realities it faces today while having a long-term vision for its future. Since the North Village area has already been granted development rights, and the necessary infrastructure to develop, we must evaluate our options and make the best choices possible.

ANNEXATION PROCESS

When landowners want to annex into the city, they must first be included in the city’s annexation policy plan. If the landowners decide to apply for annexation, they must provide some initial information to the city council which votes whether to let them move forward to be considered for annexation. As part of the process the petitioning landowner pays fees that are used to provide the needed information that is studied by the planning commission and city council. Once the planning commission and staff are satisfied that the developer has met the legal requirements, they vote to deny or accept the application or recommend it to the city council. At that point the proposed annexation goes back to the city council for a final vote. 

EQUITABLE TAXATION


One of the reasons I feel so strongly that large areas of urban development should be in a city is because of equitable taxation. Heber City residents pay the same amount of county taxes as county residents. If I have a $300,000 home in Heber City and a $300,000 home in the North Village, I will pay the same amount of property taxes to the county. If I live in Heber City, I will also pay city taxes to pay for police, planning, parks, cemetery, public works, roads, etc. If this area develops in the county the residents will pay fewer total property tax dollars than residents in the city with a house of equal value. 

If landowners decide to create their own city, Heber City will compete for sales tax dollars. If we look at cities on the Wasatch Front, it is clear this might not be a financial win for taxpayers. Cities competing for tax dollars often provide incentives to businesses to be part of their sales tax base. They provide land or sales tax rebates to incentivize business development in their city. 

PROTECTING THE TAYPAYER


Approximately 50% of Wasatch County’s 32,000 residents live in Heber. However, Heber City residents don’t provide 50% of the property taxes as the city has more primary residences which only pay 55 % of the taxable value of a home (whereas Wasatch County has more second homeowners who pay 100% of the taxable value of a home). There are also more homes with lower values in the city. 


My greatest concern as the Mayor of Heber City is to protect the taxpayers of the city and to ensure that the city’s long-term economic interests are protected. As you join us in considering these complex issues, remember that growth will occur in the North Village area—regardless of whether it annexes into Heber City or not. Please contact your elected representatives to share your thoughts on how Heber City can best plan for the future.