Heber Council To Hear Alternatives For How To Pay For Their Portion Of Eastern Bypass Road

The Heber City eastern bypass will connect Red Ledges traffic to US 40. Red Ledges and future development New London will build the end portions of the bypass, while the city has financial obligations to build a section in the middle. After a call for more options to fund the city’s portion of the road Heber City Council members will hear alternatives from city staff at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

That city’s section of the eastern bypass is located on city property north of the current city cemetery and will cost somewhere around two million dollars to complete.

One option discussed to pay for the city’s portion of the road is to sell and develop city owned land that was originally designated for future cemetery use. That first option in the report would issue an invitation to negotiate the sale and development of the city properties. Heber City Senior Accountant Wes Bingham says even if the council does move forward on the invitation to negotiate, that doesn’t mean the city has to sell the property.

“Putting it out there with an intent to negotiate allows developers and private citizens come to us and say, ‘hey we have this interest and this is what we think we could potentially do with the property’,” Bingham continued. “What it does is it essentially gives us other options and public input on what could happen with the property.”

After some discussion council asked city staff to look into some alternatives as Bingham explains.

“We’re just putting different options out for council that we could come up with as staff as potentials,” Bingham explained. “So that there can be some discussion you know in the public meeting. Try to develop a strategy for section B of the bypass”

A staff report prepared by Bingham offers three other alternatives. Option two would be to issue a bond for construction costs.

“To issue a bond there’s going to be $40,000 regardless of the amount we decide to issue the bond at,” Bingham said. “That’s just related to issuance costs. So, whether we issue a two-million-dollar bond, a million-and-a-half-dollar bond, a million-dollar bond the issuance costs are going to be about $40,000 regardless of the scenario.”

In addition, staff learned from discussion with officials at Zions Bank that the average interest on a 10-year bond for this type of project ranges from two to two and a half percent. The report also notes that currently the city is experienced robust sales tax revenue growth, but an economic downturn could impact that.

Option three would seek corridor preservation funds from Wasatch County and bond for the remaining money needed. Section B is approximately three acres, according to estimations the county could reimburse the project around $150,000 an acre.

“We had a discussion with Mike Davis, Wasatch County’s County Manager,” Bingham continued. “There are corridor preservation funds that become available. We’ve reached out see to if I couldn’t get an approximate figure of the funds that they would have available. It sounds to me that that’s a possibility that they could use some of the funds to pay for the right of way or reimbursement of the right of way. So, it wouldn’t pay for any of the infrastructure, but it would pay for right of way or land value as a reimbursement to the city.”

If county corridor preservation funds were used that would decrease the total bond by $450,000 a decrease of about $10,000 on annual payments.

Option 4 would be to use transportation impact fees, corridor preservation funds, and surplus vacant property east of the canal on the city property.

Additionally, the staff report mentions the possibility of seeking funds from the Community Impact Board, although the city is waiting to hear back from the CIB. Bingham says they’re simply trying to give the council options.

“We know we need a bypass road, but what’s the best scenario for the citizens of Heber City as a whole and adjacent landowners,” Bingham asked? “We’re going to be considering a number of different things. I’m sure there will be future discussion probably even beyond this meeting.”

The City Council meeting takes place at 6:00 pm at the Heber City chambers at 75 North Main in Heber.

Read the original at KPCW.org

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese held their 2nd annual Ice Sculptures Exhibition this weekend. Several local businesses sponsored the sculptures being displayed. There were also two different ice carving demonstrations. The event was free to the public.

The annual event began last year when Carolee Kohler saw ice sculpting on a Hallmark movie and thought it would be a fun idea for their farm. They are also considering a woodcarving event.

According to Lindsey Strother, social media and events coordinator, each sculpture takes between 1-3 hours to carve. “We contacted Amazing Ice Creations back in November, and we reached out to local companies to sponsor the ice sculptures,” she said. “Yesterday morning around 9 am, they came in a massive truck and dropped them all off for us, and we set them up.”

Along with the ice sculptures, sponsors receive a sign and canopy for the display and social media marketing. The sponsors decide what they want to have sculpted. After the event, they can take the ice sculptures and display them at their businesses. The creations normally last a couple of weeks. Some will be left in the field and can be viewed throughout the week.

The ice this year included Olaf, company logos, animals, and other items. Darron Kingston, the sculptor, has carved ice for over 10 years with his dad. According to Kingston, “I like sculptures that give me a challenge. Here, for example, my favorite was the lumberjack.” One of his favorite past creations was a 9-foot bear.

Grant Kohler, owner of Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, explained, “We decided to do something that was free and something that people could just get out and come and enjoy. Especially this year with Covid, it seems like Januarys are slow months. People are looking for things to be able to get outside and do.” He continued, “Businesses pay in and buy the sculptures, we have them sculpted, and then we just let people come and enjoy them.” Kohler estimated around 3,000 to 4,000 people will stop by the event.

The dairy farm also offers cheese-making classes and tours of their new robotic barn. “The tours are everyday except Sunday,” according to Kohler. “People hayride over, intermingle with the cows, see the barn and amenities, and watch the cows be milked. The cows will literally go get milked on their own.” Tickets for the tours and other events are available on the Heber Valley Artisan Cheese website: https://hebervalleyartisancheese.com/.