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  • Writer's pictureScott Phillips

May 2024 Update

Friends & Neighbors, 

 

This has been a wild spring, as to be expected in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, but summer is officially here. How blessed we are to call this valley home! 


Upcoming Events:


  • Saturday, June 8th at 1:00pm: Re-dedication and ribbon cutting of the Historic Heber Tabernacle and the newly constructed Heber City Compass Plaza water feature on the South Lawn

  • June is Unity Month! The purpose of this month is to find a neighbor you can serve. We’ll have opportunities to do so with a spring clean up located at your nearest city park. We are a better community if we work together! 

 

Overview & General Updates

 

We’ve had two fairly light meetings in a row. We heard from the Children's Justice Center and have renewed our support for this necessary service. We also discussed our parks and park standards – we’ve approved an ordinance that will help to provide for better park facilities that we all can use. Additionally, the lease for Timpanogos Valley Theater has been renewed. 

 

In a work session we were presented with a request to change the zoning on a parcel at 167 West Center from Residential to C-3 Commercial. This had passed the Planning Commission on a narrow 3 to 2 vote and it was a very heated discussion. We, too, had a great discussion and I feel that the Council wanted to see a concrete idea before allowing the change of zone. The property falls in a buffer zone between the downtown and residential areas and I asked if they would look at a townhome development or something similar. The landowner plans to come back with a concrete idea to present as a MDA (Master Development Agreement).

 

The cemetery building and columbarium project came back to the council for discussion. The bids were higher than anticipated, with the lowest bidder joining the meeting to find ways we could save money, while not having to sacrifice the quality of this awesome project – we hope that it will be a centerpiece for years to come! The council agreed on some of the measures and unanimously voted that we move forward to begin a project that is needed and necessary. I was very pleased with this outcome.

 

Budget Updates

 

During our May meeting, we had our first budget workshop! I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who diligently prepared and put together these budgets - they’re all highly capable and informed and it’s wonderful to be able to work with them and see the time they commit to making it right. 

 

There are a lot of services we provide as a city that sometimes we forget about in our busy daily lives. The water turns on, the toilets flush, we are kept safe and there is always someone to call if we have an accident or are in need of help. Our roads are maintained and parks are beautifully manicured. All of these services and luxuries take time and money to provide and there are hundreds of families employed to keep our city running smoothly. 

 

As we have all experienced, costs are rising for everything from housing to groceries - the costs of running a city are rising as well. Our expected budget shortfall this year is about $230,000. We are going to hold a Truth in Taxation meeting as we have the obligation to be fiscally responsible. There will be a public hearing on June 4th and a Truth in Taxation public hearing in Mid-August. While I don’t have the exact proposed increase in taxes, we do know that it would be about a $38 increase for the average $800,000 home in Heber City. 

 

Another reason to make these small adjustments to keep up with rising costs is so that we don’t wait too long like we have in the past, which leads to getting behind as a city and seeing those larger increases all at once. Our goal with a minimal increase is so that we can meet the financial need while still being fiscally responsible and conservative with our actions and budget. 

 

We know that the budget conversations can be tough, but appreciate everyone’s participation and input as we work through this together! 

 

Balancing the Main Street Flags

 

The flags on Main Street are a balancing act, as we have several wonderful things to promote and individuals to recognize. To his credit, Nick Lopez has been the driving force and organizer that is responsible for the Veterans Flags that are proudly displayed on every single light pole in downtown Heber twice a year: Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The city provides this service as it is so important to recognize those who have sacrificed so much so that we can have the freedoms we enjoy. 

 

During our meeting, we were making a decision related to the displaying of flags and what I would call the “flag calendar”. May was very busy with many different requests from the County, the Chamber, the City, and the Veterans. Looking at how often the changes were happening and the work hours that were being dedicated to put up and taking down these banners, I made a motion to streamline the process. My idea had been to allow the banners recognizing the public works department to be up for one week and then allow the Veterans’ banners to also be up for one week. This was a change in the original schedule: usually, the Veterans’  banners go up first and are then taken down a few days later. Then the public works banners go up for a few days and get taken down, followed by the Veterans’ banners going back up for a few days. I felt like I had made a reasonable motion but it never did receive a vote – the majority of the Council voted to keep it as is. 

 

I viewed this as a managerial nightmare for the men and women who are putting up and taking down the banners. I’d like for us to be smart about how we use our time and resources. I love seeing the Veterans’ Banners on the light poles and honoring them must be a priority for our city, we also need to do everything as good stewards of the time and resources it takes to be efficient.

 

Mr. Lopez later told me in a meeting, "Thank you for not supporting our Veterans'.' That was completely uncalled for and as I told him, an unjustified characterization as I not only cherish our Veterans and everything they stand for, I also honor them and love this great country. There is no place for personal attacks especially when the accusations are false. I will defend myself if directly challenged by an individual if they don't know me and are attacking something that is so very near and dear to my heart. I did send Mr. Lopez a letter of apology after I raised my voice at him for trying to prove my point. We all can be a little better!

 

We are so blessed to be a part of this community and this city! Thank you to everyone who makes it a great place to live and work. Happy Summer to all of my friends & neighbors. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

D. Scott Phillips

Heber City Council

 

 

 

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