I’ve spent several months reviewing the most recent city survey and responding to most comments. Note, residents shared their thoughts in over 1,500 comments; I reviewed all of them. Below are my thoughts on some of the most common survey comments:
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
As I have worked through the 2018 city survey I’ve seen a number of comments related to our prop tax and tax base compared to other cities. I’ve done some research in that regard and want to share it with you. There some limitations when comparing cities as they all have their individual idiosyncrasies For example, we have a $18.50 road fee which we track outside of the General Fund, Cedar Hills has a $6 EMS fee, Pleasant Grove has a $8.45 road fee … . I did not reach out to the individual cities to get their current household count but used US Census Data for all cities which is several years out of date. Also, the revenue and expense data is taken from each city’s 2018-19 budget, which are subject to change as the year progresses. So while the information is interesting it is certainly not perfect. What is does show is that Highland does have a per household sales tax base that compares favorably with our neighbors (except for AF which is significantly higher than everyone else), our property tax rate is the second lowest and our general fund spending per household is in the middle (just below average).
Thursday, June 14, 2018
A “Meet the Candidate” evening was held on Wednesday June 6th. Each candidate was given about 45 minutes to response to questions and interact with attendees. Below are videos excerpts from each candidates segment during the event which show their responses to common questions. Thanks to Scott Hart for filming the event and then taking the time to create these side-by-side responses to questions! He created a debate without the disadvantage or advantage of candidates hearing what their opponent said and then responding to it. Personally, I really like this format. Note, the video of the entire event is provided at the end of the post.
Monday, May 28, 2018
I regularly receive emails from residents who ask questions or want to voice their views on an issue. I recently read one from a resident whose counsel I would like to share.
… It is appropriate that we all treat each other with civility and that we refrain from name-calling (which both sides of a disagreement are unfortunately prone to do) regardless of how irritated we might get with each other's viewpoints and comments.
Families make plans based on their expectations that those who govern their environment will make decisions in the best interest of their family's health, including protecting them from air pollution, poor water quality, crime, public indecency, … .
Monday, May 7, 2018
This Tuesday night the city council and planning commission will be holding a joint work session to review the development plan for the Patterson property which is being named The Groves at Highland. The purpose of the session is to gather information. This is an open meeting which will be held in the city council room. Work session agendas do not include a period of time for public comment. Once the project has been presented and the council and planning commission has finished asking questions I will invite residents to ask questions if there are any they felt haven’t been asked which would provide additional insights.
Monday, April 16, 2018
Notes from the Mayor: Public Safety Cost Allocation and Lone Peak Fire Service Call History Information
As we look at how best to fund the needs of the Lone Peak Public Safety District I have been doing some homework in two different areas. The first is allocating costs between Alpine, Cedar Hills, and Highland. We presently have a somewhat complicated formula that includes a fixed percent allocation of the budget (10%) to each city and then splitting the remaining costs based on population and ERU’s (Equivalent Residential Unit: non-residential buildings are given 1 ERU per 10,000 sq. ft., homes and accessory apartment are given 1 ERU).
Thursday, March 29, 2018
I have been working on enhancing and refining the lot size data information I received from our pressurized irrigation billing system for the past several months. I’ve learned some things which run counter to “common knowledge.”
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Caucuses are held every two years. At these meetings you will be electing precinct officers (chair, vice-chair, secretary, and treasurer) as well as county and state delegates. County delegates are expected to attend county party conventions where they help select party nominees for county offices, state representatives and state senators (unless the district boundary crosses county lines). In Highland we will be selecting candidates for State House District 27 and 56, County Commission seats A & B, County Sheriff, County Clerk, and County Attorney. State delegates are expected to attend state party conventions where they vote on party nominees for state offices. This year that includes candidates for the US House of Representatives and one of our US Senate seats.
Sunday, March 4, 2018
The Power of Personal Influence
William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, 1900
THE only responsibility that a man cannot evade in this life is the one he thinks of least,―his personal influence. Man's conscious influence, when he is on dress-parade, when he is posing to impress those around him,―is woefully small. But his unconscious influence, the silent, subtle radiation of his personality, the effect of his words and acts, the trifles he never considers,―is tremendous. Every moment of life he is changing to a degree the life of the whole world. Every man has an atmosphere which is affecting every other. So silent and unconsciously is this influence working, that man may forget that it exists.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
The Highland Fling will be held July 28th through August 4th this year. Our theme is “We Rise by Lifting Others.” We expect this to be another great fling. However, in order for this to be the case your help is needed. We need volunteers to help with:
1. the Parade
3. Stage entertainment
4. Baby Contest
5. Garbage Management (this has been used in the past an Eagle Project)
6. Graphic Design
8. Other events
Please contact Julie Tapusoa at Julie@highlandcity.org or 801-772-4507 to help make this year’s fling one of our best. You can make a difference!
HJR 7: East-West Connector passed the house (70 to 0 with 5 abstentions) and will be voted on in the Senate shortly. Below is a summary of the resolution:
Monday, February 19, 2018
At the last council meeting we approved $1.5M worth road projects for the 2018 calendar year. Click here to see a detailed list of the projects and associated costs. Among the projects is rehabilitating 6000 W from 105550 N to 11800 N at a cost of $615K. Two of the originally planned projects were pushed out. One was delayed because a development was approved adjacent to the road which will put a lot of heavy equipment on the road. The other was pushed into next year because of budget limitations.
Thursday, January 18, 2018
At the council meeting on January 9th, 2018 I proposed a set of rules for us to follow during our meetings. The council was very supportive of my thoughts. The underlying objectives of these rules are to:
- Have our residents feel welcome and free to participate in the meeting regardless of which side of an issue they are on. Often those with a minority opinion are reticent to speak out for a variety of issues. We want everyone to be able to share their thoughts.
- Encourage civil debate between the council
Here are the rules I covered:
Those attending council meetings who wish to make comments on items that are aligned with an agenda item are encouraged make them following the staff presentation for that item. If they need to leave prior to the agenda item they are welcome to make their comments during the initial comment period.
We will put cards on the podium for commenters to put their contact info on if follow-up is required or requested. We will also provide comment cards at the door for residents to fill out if they do not wish to stand at the podium.
Council members may ask clarifying questions of those making comments but should not interrogate or otherwise be argumentative with the person making a comment.
Those making comments should address their remarks to the chair (the mayor or if the mayor is absent the mayor pro temp). The chair may ask a council or staff member to comment or follow-up.
Discussion between council members should be respectful. It is appropriate to disagree with an idea, even strenuously. Vigorous debate is encouraged. It is inappropriate to make direct personal remarks. It is the duty of the chair to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak their peace.
Clapping, booing, standing to show support for someone making comments on an issue under discussion is inappropriate for a couple of reasons. (1) Clapping and standing to show support for a position might intimidate a non-supporter from sharing their perspective with the council -- we want to encourage the expression of all views and (2) council decisions are supposed to be based on information as opposed to public clamor. Note. clapping or standing to show support for individuals who are being recognized for their contribution to the community is very appropriate and encouraged.
I will briefly go over these “rules” at the beginning of each meeting.
Those violating these rules of etiquette will be called out of order.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions or disagree with anything mentioned please let me know.
Saturday, January 6, 2018
City Council Agenda for 9-Jan-2018: East-West Connector Resolution; Boundary Change Resolution; Survey
I am making a change to how I report on city activity in my blog. Going forward I will share my thoughts with you on key items that will be on the council agenda for the next meeting rather than providing an after action report as I did when I was a council member. As mayor I generally do not have a vote on issue but I do help formulate the agenda. As such I will try to provide inside into upcoming issues and share some of the discussions which precede council meeting. Upcoming agendas are posted on the city web page. Click here to see a list of the upcoming and previous agendas.
As residents you can best influence decisions by connecting with council members in advance of meetings (see Tips on Influencing Local Government).
Monday, January 1, 2018
As the year begins I wanted to share with you the goals and priorities for the coming year. We will have a work session early in the year where the council will get to go through their goals and work to put them in a priority order. Below is a list I provided to council members a couple of weeks ago. Feel free to share your thoughts. Did I miss something you think is important? Am I heading somewhere you think is ill advised? … .
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The fire district board tonight approved a contract with Reed Thompson to be the new fire chief. Mr. Thompson was the unanimous pick of the board plus the fire chiefs of Lehi, American Fork, and Pleasant Grove, who were part of the selection committee. The local chiefs all said that we be hard pressed to find a better candidate no matter how long we looked.
Mr. Thompson comes to us from the S. Jordan fire department where he currently serves the deputy fire chief. He has an Master's of Public Administration from BYU, serves as the chair of the Utah State Urban Search & Rescue Advisory Board (SUSAR), and the vice president of the National State Urban Search and Rescue Executive Board, and He has over 20 years of fire department experience. He will start on or before December 29th.
For those who had or have concerns about the process used to hire Mr. Thompson, we started with national search and received 16 applications from across the nation. As soon as Mr. Thompson submitted an application, his father, Mayor Mark Thompson, resigned from the fire district board. A selection committee comprised of the city administrators from Alpine, Cedar Hills, and Highland, plus board chief Sheldon Wimmer (Mayor of Alpine), and Brian Gwilliam (acting Fire Chief) with some assistance from local fire chiefs selected 6 applications to interview. From these the top 3 were selected to be interviewed by members of the board, the 3 local fire chiefs, and members of the Lone Peak Fire District. One of the top 3 candidates dropped out before the final interviews. Reed Thompson was the unanimous pick of the board members, who participated in the interviews, the 3 local fire chiefs, and was unanimously approved by the fire district board. Note, I did not participate in the interviews due to a schedule conflict (my mother-in-laws funeral).
I am excited that we have a new chief, who has the full support of the board, and look forward to seeing the district move forward in a positive direction. Click here to view Reed Thompson's resume.
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Several issues were raised during the campaign that require more than sound bite responses. Here our what I think are the top four issues and my thoughts on them. Feel free to share your point of view.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Highland residents from all across the political spectrum, including some who disagree with me on issues that are important to them, talk about why they support my run for Mayor. So why do they support my candidacy? The biggest reasons are transparency, sharing information, and a willingness to engage.
Renee Braddy and her husband Kevin are actively involved in the community. They have made a difference in education, local and county politics as well as simply serving their neighbors. Renee reviews their interactions with me and my efforts to communicate with the residents of Highland..
Friday, October 20, 2017
On Oct 12, 2017, the city sponsored a debate between candidates for city office. The format of the meeting was that each candidate was given time for an opening statement. Then candidates were given between 30 and 90 seconds to respond to questions. Following the question period each candidate was given the opportunity to give a closing statement.
City council candidates (Chris Kemp, Dennis LeBaron, Kurt Ostler, and Scott Smith) went through the process first followed by mayoral candidates (Jessie Schoenfeld and me – Rod Mann).
Saturday, October 14, 2017
The East-West or Murdock Connector is a road which has been under discussion for about 40 years. When built, it will connect N. County Parkway (4800 W) with Alpine Hwy (5300 W) south of Lone Peak High School.
Friday, October 6, 2017
An Open Meeting Violation is Being Referred to the County Attorney’s Office According to Senator Dayton
The East-West connector and development of the land south of Lone Peak High School continues to be most interesting. Was the meeting Senator Dayton expressed concern (my 15th “Issues and Information” meeting held at city hall on 5-Oct-2017) a violation of the Open Meeting Act. Good question. Let’s start with Senator Dayton’s email: