Monday, May 26, 2014

City Council 20-May-2014: Budget Public Hearing

Here is the meeting agenda with my notes in line


  1. Public Comment
  • An award was presented by the mayor to Karre Nevarez, a teacher a Westfield Elementary who worked with students that won several awards in local and state LEGO competitions. Student teams design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology.

  • The arts council discussed the need for a new piano at the Community Center. The current grand piano’s condition such that it cannot be cost effectively repaired / reconditioned according to Brigham Larson. Note, Brigham is a personal friend who rebuilds and tunes pianos. The rough cost of a replacement is $15K. The Arts Council will be trying to raise funds to replace it. My sentiment is that the city should help communicate the need for a new piano and encourage donations to replace it.
  • Michelle Holbrook, from the Curtis Center asked for assistance from Highland for classroom space to use to start a HIVE (Educational Activity Program for Adults with Disabilities) program in the area for up to 13 adults. They would need a room 2 or 3 times a week for several hours. She will provide the city administrator with more specific information.


  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for City Council Work Session – April 29, 2014.
    I asked to have the minutes amended to indicate that the percentage of the budget used by public safety in the proposed budget grew by 36% to 39% and the line item total grew by 11%. It was not clear in the original minutes that the reference to 3% growth for the PSD budget referred to its growth as a percentage of the budget as opposed to its absolute growth.
  2. Final Plat Approval - Mountain Ridge Phase II


  1. PUBLIC HEARING/RESOLUTION: Approval of Tentative Budget - 2014-2015 Fiscal Year
    • Scott Smith was the only person to speak during the public hearing portion of the budget discussion. His comments were centered on the value that the library provides to the community.
    • Gary (finance director) shared a short presentation covering the budget and summarized the minor changes to the previous version of the budget. Note, I have updated the online version to reflect these changes.

      2014-05-20 Revenue by Source
    • Dennis Lebaron started the meeting by handing out his recommendations to reductions. This was a valued addition as it provided a framework for discussion.
    • We agreed to the following:

      • remove the Vactor from this years budget.
      • reduce the increase in legal fees
      • the concept of utilizing of most the projected surplus from this year to fund road maintenance rather than increase our city reserve.
      • do only mandatory repairs to the community center this year. Staff to determine which of the listed repairs fit in this category
    • The police chief responded to a question on the rational for each officer having his one car. The response included the following: each officer takes car of maintenance activities on his own time (we don’t have dedicated maintenance staff) and officers can go directly to the needed area called from home. Currently we lease vehicles for 5 years and then replace them.
    • Regarding police dogs: They are used on a regular basis to sniff out drugs in vehicles. The chief feels that they add significant value.I don’t remember the other discussion points.
    • We voted to approve the tentative budget and asked staff to rework it based on our discussion. The final budget decision will be on June 17th. We will have another work session and public hearing on June 3.


  1. Boundary Adjustment - Cedar Hills
    The mayor of Cedar Hills came to discuss the potential of making boundary changes on the NE side of Highland south of the SR 92. I have not received a copy of the presentation material. This issue has evidently been discussed before. We agreed to revisit the issue and let Cedar Hills know what timeframe we would be able to make a final decision on by the end of June.
  2. Open Space Tour – Chamberry Subdivision: The council decided to plan a walking tour of the easement sometime the week beginning June 9. I did not pay much attention to the exact date and time as I will be on business travel that week. This was a section of “open space land” that the council deferred selling to adjoining residents because of concerns regarding access to a main water line should repairs be required.
  3. Annexation – Micron Property: Discussed Micron’s desire to have Lehi annex the property located north of Highland(11800N) on the west side of Highland Hwy. Since this is not really an item we have any control over (we could fight it but would lose) we agreed to simply ask Lehi to adhere to their current plan relative to housing density.
    • I reiterated my support for eliminating the library property tax and raising the general property in an equal amount. The primary reason is that it gives the council the flexibility to use all funds collected from residents to best benefit of the city. In the case of the library funds collected from the dedicated tax, these must, by state law, be put into the library account, regardless of need. The library does a great job managing the funds allocated to it. In 2012-2013 they ran a $26K surplus, this year it will be ~$20K and based on the budget for next year is will be at least $18K. I believe the council should be able to direct the surplus (of your money) into the highest priority budget items (i.e. roads, public safety …) rather than have the money simply remain in the library account.

1 comment:

  1. I heard that some people may believe that when I stated that the council should be able to direct the library surplus into higher priority items rather than leave it in the library account, I was referring to taking surplus money from previous year surpluses. That would clearly be illegal. The 2014-2015 surplus is now projected to be around $15K (it will likely be more as the city is always conservative when it projects property tax revenue). If we eliminate the dedicated tax then this $15K "surplus" can be allocated to a high priority item like the roads.


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