On September 10, 2015 we held a Meet the Candidates event in the multi-purpose room of city hall. Each candidate met with the audience separately for about 25 minutes each. Audience members made each mini-meeting a totally difference experience by the questions they asked. Audience members all agreed it was a very informative evening.
Below is a quick poll to get your sense of what the key issues are that candidates need to address.
I will give a brief description of each meeting but you really had to be there to benefit from it. On that note, we are holding one more of these on Thursday October 22nd at 7 PM in the city council room at city hall (5400 Town Center W, Highland, UT 84003).
Tim introduced himself. Works as a engineer for South Jordan, so he has a good understanding of how government works from an insider perspective and understands city infrastructure needs. He’s presently serving on the Highland Planning Commission.
Many of the questions for Tim revolved around roads since that is an area of expertise. He walked the audience through the life-cycle of asphalt roads and shared his thoughts on maintenance issues.
Ed is a CPA who has done public accounting in the past but now works for the LDS Church. He has worked on the Open Space committee for a number of years working to resolve issues and presently serves as the chair of that committee.
Much of the discussion with him centered on city finances. Ed would like to work on paying off our debt early and generating additional revenue by encouraging businesses to open in Highland and selling undeveloped land owned by the city.
Tim is currently finishing his 1st term as a city councilman. Prior to serving on the council he served on the planning commission. He is presently retired although he hosts a late morning talk show once a week on KTALK AM 630. Before retiring he was the CEO of AAA Travel in California.
Tim discussed the principles he uses to make decision as a councilman. He is a believer in limited government and is concerned about government over-reach. He pointed to an example where the Arts Committee had asked the city to co-fund the purchase of a new piano. When he along with other council members asked the Arts Committee to focus on donations instead the committee ended up raising enough money to buy a new piano that costs twice as much as the used one they wanted to the city to help fund.
Brian served on the planning commission for 7 years and is finishing his 2nd term in office. He is running again because he is still willing to put in the time and feels like his experience helps make him more productive.
The discussion with Brian was varied. Some of the time was spent talking about long term road funding requirements. We are currently spending $500 to $700 K a year on roads, mostly to maintain the good roads. A recent relook at the 2010 road study found that we have about $17M dollars in road reconstruction projects facing the city over the next 10 to 20 years. He believes that we need to put together the options we have to deal with the issue and then let the residents help decide the path we take forward.
The evening was great. All candidates did an excellent job of discussing why they were running and what they bring to the table. The next one will be even better. One item that came up in the several of the discussions was a question on the impact of the gas tax increase and potential impact on the county 1/4 cent tax increase. Below is an estimated impact from the Utah League of Cities and Towns (click here for the full report).
|City||New Gas Tax Rev*||Potential Local Option Rev**||Total Potential Rev - HB 362|
* Rev estimate for FY 2017, the first full fiscal year in which the law will be in effect (UDOT)
** Estimate based on CY 2014 taxable sales (Utah State Tax Commission)
Below are links to information related to other items discussed in the meeting. You may want to review some of this to help you formulate questions for the next meeting.
- Road maintenance background information
- 5 year road maintenance proposal for Highland by JUB (from July 15, 2015 city council project)
- 2014-15 approved road projects (see item 5 in my Sep 16, 2014 council meeting notes)
- 2010 Road Study (details, charts, graphs) This is a little bit detailed if you have questions feel free to contact me. It is an online spreadsheet the includes the raw study data and then various summaries with charts and graphs.
- Highland Bond Status. This is a spreadsheet that shows the status of each of our current bonds. Note, the city refinanced the 2006 City Building Bond this year which will save the city over $200,000. For the other bonds I’ve shaded the rows green for the years in which we can begin to make early payments. I’ve also indicated at the bottom of the table how much we could save if we paid the bond off at the earliest possible date. Again this is a little complicated if you have questions please call me.
- Highland 2015-2016 Budget. This shows the 2015-16 approved budget plus the prior years actual expenses. A number of summaries and charts in this spreadsheet. It is also complicated so contact me if you have questions and I will do my best to explain. The tabs on the bottom will take you to various summaries, the charts or the data.
- Utah League of Cities and Towns HB 362 Transportation Infrastructure Funding Information