At the start of the new year, Heber City will have three new councilmembers. Recently elected Councilmember Rachel Kahler shares what’s on her mind as she begins her term.
Rachel Kahler is a Heber local. Her family moved to the valley in 1979, and she graduated from Wasatch High School. Kahler says her time on the Envision Heber 2050 steering committee inspired her to run for office, because, she says, what happens in the next four years will shape the next 50 years of Heber’s future.
“Now is the time to set the standards for what’s going to happen to our city as we grow, and as more people move into the valley, and how we create our infrastructure—what does that look like,” Kahler said. “So I really had that realization last, probably, spring, and that’s what put me into the position of wanting to run.”
In addressing the area’s rapid growth, Kahler says the biggest item to watch is the potential annexation of the 5,000-unit Sorenson development, just north of Heber’s current boundaries. Kahler says it’s better for the development to be in the city, so the council can help guide its vision for responsible growth.
“I think a lot of citizens don’t understand that that development is coming,” Kahler said. “It’s already been approved. That property has been owned by the Sorenson Foundation since 1984, and they have a right to develop it, but it’s now our responsibility to develop it in a way that is sustainable, that allows for open space. We have a great opportunity to put a trail system in that will really benefit the entire community.”
For Kahler, a successful term looks like improving her constituents’ understanding of issues through better communication and public processes.
“We need to have a much more transparent, open dialogue with the public as these issues come up, so it’s not a surprise when we have really tough decisions, but that the public has been involved through the process,” Kahler said. “I think we can do that through social media, through more open houses.”
Kahler and the other new councilmembers, Ryan Stack and Mike Johnston, will be sworn in Jan. 7 at 5 p.m., followed immediately by the first council meeting of the year.
Read the original story at KPCW.org