October 3, 2023 - City Council Meeting
Our recent meeting was both productive and enjoyable. I must be honest that Mayor Franco’s absence allowed us to put our differences aside and truly work as a team to tackle agenda items.
We engaged in healthy debate on various topics, including short-term rentals, accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and two potential development agreements (one near Lee's Market and the other on Industrial Parkway near 1000 South). We discussed the issues, embraced respectful disagreements, and proved that differences of opinion are instrumental in guiding us toward a more informed outcome.
All in all, it was nice to finally get down to business. I left the meeting with restored confidence in our processes and an eagerness to continue the work we started.
Heber Halloween Fest is right around the corner. This year’s event will take place on Friday, October 27 from 4-7 p.m. at City Hall. I’m looking forward to this fun family occasion, and I hope to see you all there!
The Wasatch County Fire Department presented a ballot measure proposal for a 0.5% sales tax increase. This would help us pay for the growing department, including the construction of a new fire station.
Their current budget of about $6 million per year is stretched thin. While I acknowledge the department’s financial challenges, I have always been proud that our sales tax remains one of the lowest in the state, and I really don't want to see an increase. The only way for tax revenue to increase is through the truth in taxation process, development of properties, or real growth. Why do we all have to pay more when there are so many more of us paying? In theory, the growth should be paying for itself.
I understand that Wasatch County Fire has been on a shoestring budget for years—and something must be done to change that. But I also think we need to find solutions outside of raising taxes. I’d like to make sure this is simply a short-term remedy for a larger issue.
While we didn’t vote on a resolution to support the measure, I want to emphasize the need to explore alternative solutions to fund the department’s expansion.
Ensuring safety, especially on our roads, was a key promise during my campaign for Heber City Council. I am anxiously awaiting UDOT’s recommendations for the bypass corridor on the west side, which is vital to reducing the speed of traffic on Main Street. Slowing traffic to 25 miles per hour will help us transform our Main Street into a pedestrian-friendly space with medians, trees, diagonal parking, outdoor dining—and much more. Heber City desperately needs this bypass if we want to provide a safe core in our community, and I will continue advocating for those tenets.
Public Comment Concerns
Rachael shared a letter from Scott House, chair of the trails, parks, and open space committee, highlighting recent accidents involving students and potential traffic hot spots. His message emphasized the importance of driving responsibly with heightened vigilance, especially with the construction and detours we had to maneuver this summer.
Road safety is a shared responsibility among drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and electric scooter enthusiasts. For example, riding a motorized scooter or bike opposed to traffic on the sidewalk is not safe or appropriate. Please remember that bikes and motorized vehicles of all kinds must follow established rules of the road and ride with traffic. In crosswalks, you should always walk your bike.
All of us have a responsibility to slow down and be more cautious. If we work together to follow the rules of the road, we can significantly improve safety for everyone.
On that note, I’d like to recognize Principal Justin Kelly from Wasatch High School, who was recently escorting students across the Main Street crosswalk at 800 South to make sure they were safe. This is the Heber City I know and love. We are fortunate to live in a community full of genuine people who care for others. Thank you, Principal Kelly!
D. Scott Phillips