Guest editorial: Hideout is focused on the future
Hideout town administrator
Years ago at a candlelight vigil for the homeless, I was inspired by Pamela Atkinson’s work with the Catholic Diocese, the LDS Church and municipal leaders in finding common ground and especially took heart in her presentation on the importance of collaboration, coordination and cooperation to solve difficult societal problems. I have consistently tried to implement this sensibility into my many years of management experience, though I’ve found that nowhere has it been more important than working for citizens in a municipality.
Encountering a huge personal tragedy a few years ago, I needed a difficult problem to solve. I was fortunate to find this opportunity by joining the mayor and council of Hideout in sorting out some extremely challenging societal issues that affected all of us in the region of the Wasatch Back. Structured as a “municipality,” the town seemed to operate more like a master planned community. With the help of many good friends, advice from colleagues and excellent attorneys, we have made significant progress in sorting out a municipal mess together. Though a friend and one of the best water lawyers in the state gave me this very wise advice, “be careful what you pray for,” I believe we are on the cusp of becoming part of a solution to regional issues, rather than a problem.
The current administration of Hideout, among other things has been anxiously engaged in connecting people with government. I’ve witnessed tireless efforts of engaged citizens after a hard day at work, serving their fellow citizens in collaborating to untangle some difficult problems. When I joined the town, just over two years ago as more or less a volunteer, I made a debut by working with the budget committee to raise property taxes to hire a staff. Today I’m proud to say we have an excellent group of staffers and professionals. I’m reminded of a quote from Margaret Mead: “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For indeed that’s all who ever have.”
We are fortunate that beyond bringing her excellent skills as a town clerk, Alicia Fairbourne brings 14-plus years of experience at the Salt Lake County Election office. Our professionals are equally qualified. Our town attorney, town engineer and planner are a fabulous team. I first met Thomas Eddington, an adjunct professor at a grad school planning course, while seeking a dissertation topic at the University of Utah. I was impressed with his insights and abilities then and continue to appreciate his wisdom. He has been actively engaged in issues such as trail connectivity, architectural diversity, creating community character and housing affordability; elements critical to property values and quality of life. Regardless of this vote, I’m looking forward to working toward solving regional issues with collaboration, cooperation and coordination among all stakeholders. High Valley Transit has made a valuable step in that goal in regionalizing transit to solve traffic problems and work towards Mayor Andy Beerman’s goal of carbon net zero by 2030. Let’s keep the momentum going. We are in need of each other.
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“As we hear about multiple developments that propose growth in terms of thousands of units, it makes you wonder,” writes James Duebber.