Seven New Faces Join Incumbent In Heber City Council Race
Eight people will be on the ballot for Heber City Council in November.
Two city council seats are up for election. Wayne Hardman filed for re-election first, and seven newcomers followed. Heidi Franco, whose term is ending, is running for mayor instead of re-election to the council.
KPCW spent some time getting to know the hopefuls in this crowded field.
Yvonne Barney is a member of the Friends of Heber Valley non-profit and former Wasatch district advancement chair for Boy Scouts of America.
She and her husband have lived in the same Heber home since 1985. A familiar face in Heber City council meetings, she says she’d advocate for responsible growth that preserves natural beauty and recreation opportunities.
“I want to be the voice for the people,” Barney said. “I’m hoping that some way, I can bring forward some new ideas, thinking outside the box, and still be able to provide commercial things without going in a direction that is not Heber. I think we can do all that without changing Heber drastically.”
Lillian Bradley was born in Ghana, West Africa, and says she’s loved living in the Heber Valley since she was three.
Her undergraduate degree is from BYU - Hawaii, and she got her master’s degree in public administration from BYU - Provo. She’s spent almost a decade managing non-profits that have supported health and humanitarian causes locally and in Africa.
She says she’ll use resident input to make decisions.
“This valley wants people who are willing to represent them and their ideals, and that’s part of the reason that I decided I want to jump in and represent. I really want to involve the community as much as I can in the decisions that they want moving forward, and as a representative, I really want to be a voice for the community, and that’s really my main goal, moving forward,” Bradley says.
Jim Harper is a founder of multiple small businesses including pest control, software, construction and lighting. He and his wife moved to Heber for the charm and beauty of the area, as well as all the recreation opportunities.
He says on the council, he’d work to “preserve, restore and protect” the community he’s loved for four years.
“I want to protect the open spaces and Main Street. I am a fiscal conservative; I believe in free enterprise. I live in Heber. My wife and I just fell in love with it. We want to do all we can to just keep it as it is - with growth, but manage the growth and make reasonable and responsible decisions regarding the growth.”
Scott Phillips is a financial advisor and former president of the Heber Valley Rotary Club.
Phillips was born in Colorado and has lived in Heber for 16 years. He has degrees from BYU and Penn State University. A former president of the Heber Valley Rotary Club, he’s also served on the board of adjustments and the airport advisory board.
He’s currently a trustee on the Heber Valley Hospital board and has been involved with the Wasatch Community Foundation for 12 years.
He says it’s for his love of the valley that he’s running for council. His priorities include preserving natural beauty while allowing growth to continue.
“It holds a very special place in my heart,” Phillips says, “and as we grow and change and develop, I’d like to have an influence in how that is directed and where we’re headed. I want to preserve what makes Heber, Heber and still have the growth. It’s a tightrope of sorts, the balance, but I’d like to have some influence and say in how that happens.”
Two city council candidates are real estate developers with the Ritchie Group in Salt Lake City.
Corey Kent Berg is a principal with the company. He was born and raised in the Heber Valley. He spent 10 years in Folsom, California after college. He says there, he gained government experience on the utility advisory committee in another city dealing with fast growth.
He’s also been a county delegate for the Republican Party in multiple elections.
Back in the valley since 2008, he says he wants the city to be able to offer residents the same quality of life as he experienced as a kid.
“If we can continue to manage our growth, so that we’re not overwhelmed by infrastructure needs, I think we’ll be able to maintain a quality of life that’s second to none and keep Heber a place that people really want to be,” Berg says. “That’s my pledge, is to try to keep Heber the way it should be and manage the growth that’s coming and give those people who come in an opportunity to be from a great place as well.”
Robert Heywood, a founder of the same development company, moved to Heber City from Sandy in 1997.
Speaking to voters, he says, “This is my home. I love it here. I will defend it to the best of my ability and to the best of my conscience. I would appreciate your trust and confidence, and know that I will do my duty, if elected, to serve the city the very best that I possibly can.”
One way he says he’d do that is advocating for “smart growth.” To Heywood, this means preserving the character of the city by limiting new rural development and keeping the city planners involved in the evolution of Main Street.
He says he’s attuned to the affordable housing shortage in Heber, because his children want to live in the city but are having trouble finding good options.
Since 2008, the Ritchie Group and the Millstream Group have been planning a mixed-use development on the north end of Heber City. The New London development along Highway 40 will build 15 retail lots, including a grocery store, and 333 apartments and townhomes.
Heber City Council must still approve site plans and designs for the project, and City Planner Tony Kohler says these decisions could be made by the next city council.
Heywood wouldn’t speculate about any conflict of interest if elected to the council while the city contracts with the Ritchie Group.
He said there are misconceptions “about how growth happens,” and their company strives to support developments that only benefit communities.
Also running for council is Bryce Hoover. He’s a medical laboratory scientist at Heber Valley Hospital.
Born and raised in Heber City, he graduated from Wasatch High School, then Weber State University.
His children are currently in the Wasatch County school system. He says the perspective he brings is one reason people should vote for him.
"I think we need someone that's maybe a little younger in the city council, who has a little more skin in the game. I have kids in the education system still. I've grown up here and watched it go from a small town to the city it is now, and I really want to try to slow the growth and be more responsible," Hoover says.
Part of his approach to growth would be to keep high-density housing to the inner-city area in areas zoned for commercial and business uses.