I’m happy to report that we had another successful Heber City Council meeting, reaching conclusions on several items of importance.
First, there was unanimous approval of the construction of additional pickle ball courts at Wasatch County Southfield Park. The city will contribute $20,000 for the current fiscal year, as well as $20,000 in the new fiscal year, to help make this a reality. In a previous meeting, the room was full of local pickle ball players who were enthusiastic in their support of this construction. I know I speak for the entire council when I say we’re pleased to help enrich our community with these types of recreational opportunities.
Under action items, Mayor Franco recognized the Public Works water crew with an award. As we all know, there have been several water main breaks in the old area of Heber, resulting in thousands of dollars of property damage. Our Public Works crews have worked tirelessly to repair Heber City’s aging infrastructure. They continue to work around the clock in order to provide these important services to residents in times of critical need.
This presentation from the mayor was timely because it made way for related agenda items. From there, the council held public hearings to address the issuance and sale of bonds totaling $47 million to improve the downtown sewer, water, and pressure irrigation systems. All of these systems must be updated or replaced, as many of them are more than 70 years old. The council voted to expand the scope of the project, replacing all lines that our city engineer deems necessary. While this will cause an increase in rates, we can all agree that Heber City hasn’t been charging enough for these services. It’s essential to have a safety net in place when repairs or replacements become inevitable.
Further, the council resumed an earlier conversation that would amend the city’s existing sign regulation. This was an extensive discussion between councilmembers that resulted in the approval of a new ordinance, but with several amendments and changes in language. This particular issue has been of concern for the Heber City council for several years, making it a constructive update. We believe these changes will help improve and simplify administrative processes for our city employees.
Near the end of our meeting, we spoke with Chief Booth about wages in the Heber City Police Department. In summary, it’s important to have two separate pay scales, one for sworn officers and another for staff members. Unfortunately, it is getting more and more difficult for the department to attract and retain qualified employees. Other cities and businesses offering higher wages are actively trying to recruit the individuals currently working in our city positions. Chief Booth’s presentation emphasized the importance of offering competitive compensation if we want to attract and hold onto high-quality talent here in Heber city. This is an issue that is very important to me, and one that I look forward to assisting with in further budget discussions.
In closing, our final items of the meeting included consideration for Red Ledges Park as the preferred location for a fitness court. This was approved by the council with thorough discussion concerning design and beautification of the amenity. We also talked about a new coyote statue that will be placed on Coyote Canyon Parkway on the north side of town. Our hope is that this beautiful statue in the median of the road will add character and depth to the area. It’s small additions like this one that can make all the difference when it comes to creating an attractive place for residents to feel at home.
D. Scott Phillips
Heber City Council