Thursday, December 29, 2016

City Council 15-Nov-2016: Oak Ridge Rezone Decision, Open Space Maintenance Agreement, 10400 Sewer Project

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

About 40 people were in attendance. Most were there to discuss the rezone issue. This has been a somewhat controversial issue and we’ve had a lot of resident input. I ran a poll starting in September to better understand how residents feel about lot sizes (results shown below). Additionally, residents were not happy about the final vote and are petitioning for the matter to be on the 2017 election ballot. While technically the referendum can only overturn the decision to rezone this specific property a large majority decision on either side would be an indicator of the publics view of future R-1-40 to R-1-30 rezone requests. Anyone wishing to help gather signatures or sign a petition can contact Natalie Ball at responsiblegrowth@hotmail.com. I will discuss this further below.
2016-11-15 Oak Ridge Concept Plan

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

No Room For Them In The Inn—William George Jordan

No room in the inn 2The following is a chapter from William George Jordan’s book “The Crown of Individuality.” As always, his writing is filled with profound thoughts and great analogies.

No Room For Them In The Inn

The world’s attitude towards the birth of every great truth is focused in a single phrase in the simple story of the first Christmas, the greatest birthday since time began. Mary laid the infant Christ in a manger—“because there was no room for them in the inn.”

For worldly success, fame, social prestige, laurel-crowned triumph, the inn is illuminated; welcoming music fills the air; and the inn doors are thrown wide open. But struggle towards sublime attainment, heroic effort to better the world, simple consecration of soul to a noble ideal means—the manger and a lonely pathway lit only by the torch of truth held high in the hand of purpose.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

City Council 1-Nov-2016: Retail Building in Town Center, Quick-Quack Car Wash Site Plan.

2016 LogoAbout 8 people attended the council meeting at which we approved (1) the final plat for the Edge Home development on the south west side of town (R-1-30), the architectural plan for Quick Quack car wash, a site plan for a new building west of Wendy’s, and a sewer connection for a Golf Training Center which will be built in American Fork adjacent to Highland..

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Thursday, December 1, 2016

City Council 1-Nov-2016: Road Repair Plan Work Session

2016-11-01 Road Distress

Background: In 2011 a road study was begun which ended up projecting that the cost of repairing Highland’s D & F rated roads would be $16.2M. As the sturdy was reviewed by staff, residents, and council members a number of issues were uncovered which council and staff felt warranted a second opinion.

Earlier this year we executed a contract with PEPG Consulting to reassess C- through F rated roads in Highland using a core sampling methodology. Coring gives engineers a much better ability to assess the condition of a road segment and recommend an appropriate treatment. While the study was underway a committee composed of residents, staff members, and council members met monthly with PEPG to review the progress and provide input. I really appreciate those who participated.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

City Council 18-Oct-2016: N. County Aquifer Council, Open Space Maintenance Agreement Discussion

About 20 people attended the meeting. Most were there to participate in a discussion on maintenance agreements on open space land. Note, If you haven’t done so already please share your opinion as to what constitutes a “large lot” by voting in the poll below. Feel free to add comments.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

City Council 4-Oct-2016: Apple Creek (rezone request), Budget adjustments.

There were ~30 residents at the council meeting. A decision on whether to rezone 5.76 acres of undeveloped land in the town center to allow an age restricted (55 and older) condo/lease with commercial development to be constructed was the issue which brought most of the residents.
2016-10-04 Apple Creek Elevation
Note, If you haven’t done so already please share your opinion as to what constitutes a “large lot” by voting in the poll below. Feel free to add comments.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Monday, September 26, 2016

City Council 20-Sep-2016: Bike Trail Completed, 2017 Utility Projects, Code Enforcement, PI Rate Discussion

There were less than ten residents present. One stayed through the entire meeting (thanks). We approved two final plats one R-1-30 and one R-1-40.  As lot sizes continue to be topical I have started to put plat approvals into a Google Spreadsheet so that I can better understand the issue. Below is a chart and table that summarizes the data I’ve collected so far:


Thursday, September 15, 2016

City Council 6-Sep-2016: Splash Pad Fence, R-1-40 to R-1-30 Rezone Request

2016-09-06 Splash PadPrior to the meeting the council received numerous emails regarding the zone change request on the agenda. Most of the attendees at the meeting came to share their views on this issue. We had also received several emails regarding a small parking area in Canterbury that was recently cleaned up. I was surprised no one attended to bring up this issue given the number of emails. I also was a little surprised that there were no public comments on the water quality issue that’s been in the news of late. About 50 people were present.

Because one of the issues on the agenda was a rezone from R-1-40 to R-1-30 I would be interested in your response to the following 1 question poll.

In a survey conducted earlier this year the most frequently cited reason for living in Highland was large lots. The city now has three residential zones; which one meets your minimum criteria for large lots?
 
pollcode.com free polls

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • One resident spoke to the rezone issue in the public comment portion of the meeting when other rose to speak on this issue we deferred them to the public hearing portion of the agenda for this specific issue.

CONSENT ITEMS

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

City Council 16-Aug 2016: Fling, NUERA Landfill purchase, Selling City Water Shares

 

2016-08-16 Fling 1

About 30 residents attended the council meeting.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • Residents asked the dead trees which pose a safety hazard be removed. This is was a long-standing request. Note, staff already has quotes to have the trees removed. The council later encouraged staff to act as soon as reasonable and to take advantage of the offer to help with the project by the residents.

Presentations

Sunday, July 31, 2016

What Really Peaks the Interest of Highland Residents

I thought you might find it interesting to see the relative popularity of my Highland City posts during the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Below is a chart of the showing the top and bottom five posts in terms of numbers of views:

2016-07-30 Highland Post Stats

Friday, July 22, 2016

City Council: 19-Jul-2016: Surplus of Property, Office Hours

2016-07-19 SoL 1

In total about 130 people attended the council meeting. Around a 100 attended to participate in the public hearing on whether or not the city should sell land to the east of the police and city hall buildings.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • None

Presentations

Monday, June 27, 2016

Highland Road Study Open House Review

2016-06-23 Env v Struct Distress

On May 23rd the city held an open house to review the outcome of a recent road evaluation study we commissioned. Below are copies of the poster boards which were on display along with some short comments.

City Council 14-Jun-2016: 16-17 Budget, Utility Rate Increases

2016-06-14 Budget Expenses

Seven residents attended the meeting to approve the the 2016-2017 budget and utility rate changes. Perhaps the fact the process has been very transparent with multiple meetings open to residents early in the process contributed to the low turnout. As always feel free to reach out to me via phone or email with questions or comments. I really don’t mind being challenged on decisions or opinions. It always makes me think.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

City Council 07-Jun-2016: Edge Homes, Bike Trail, Multiple Re-Zoning Requests both Commercial and Residential

2016-06-07 Quick-QuackjpgThe council meeting ended at 12:30 AM. There was lots of discussion with residents, which I always view as positive, and I therefore didn’t mind that we ran late. Several residents stayed till the bitter end and then talked afterward with council members for another 30 to 40 minutes.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • Dave Krammer, Head Coach of the Lone Peak mountain biking team introduced a proposed project and then let team members Levi Kammer, Cade Nielson, and Kyle Randall describe it. They want to create a  bike trail system on City property off of the Murdock Canal trail
    and Canterbury Drive. The project would be done as multiple Eagle Projects, grants would be sought to fund the project, and then the team would assume much of the responsibility for the maintenance of the trails. These would be available to all residents. The council expressed support. Brian encouraged them to address parking concerns when they bring this back to the council for a vote. Click here to see the presentation that was shared with the council.

    2016-06-07 Bike Trails Eagle Scout Project

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

City Council 17-May-2016: Tentative Budget, Mortuary Conditional Use Modification

About 10 people attended the meeting. Representative Mike Kennedy gave a brief legislative report (see my notes from the East-West Connector meeting for more detailed comments on the most topical item discussed). The East-West connector will be an item that will be worked on over the course of the next year. It does look like this is a difference of opinion between Senator Dayton (see article posted on UtahPolicy.com) and the city and county on this item so we will have to see how this resolves itself over the next 9 months.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • No appearances

Utah Property Taxes: What Is A Certified Tax Rate?

property-taxEach year each county in Utah calculates a new certified tax rate for all taxing entities (i.e. cities, school districts, and service districts) within their jurisdiction by taking the property tax revenue collected the previous year and dividing it by the current assessed property value within the taxing entities (exclusive of new growth). This is the tax rate is then applied to all assessed property (including growth) and the new total becomes the base for next year. Another way to say this is if our home value doubles then our tax rate will be reduced by half. Confusing? I know! Let’s try walking through an example to clarify.

Fictitious Example

Let’s suppose in 2014 Highland City Property Taxes generated $1.5M and value of all property in Highland was $300M.This would represent property tax rate of 0.5%.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Issues and Information 26-May-2016: East-West Connector and State Land, a Discussion with Senator Dayton

2014-02 USDC Road HierarchyThanks to those who attended the meeting last night, especially, Senator Margaret Dayton, Rep Mike Kennedy, Rep Kay Christofferson, and State Auditor John Dougall. I counted over 60 people in attendance. Lots of questions were asked, most were answered, and everyone was very respectful.

For a background on some of the history related to the land and the east-west connector please see my earlier post entitled  “Highland East-West Connector History“.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

City Council 19-Apr-2016: Roads Work Session, Spring Creek Park–Sell Land, R-1-30 Zone …

Highland Mitchell ParkAbout 65 people attended the meeting. At least half were there to speak during the public hearing on whether or not to declare the 12 acres that comprise the undeveloped Spring Creek Park as surplus. This was an interesting discussion.

Roads Work session

We reviewed the work to date on the road study. PEPG confirmed that their final report would include an estimated timeframe the work should be done to a road after which the cost to repair would increase. Click here to view a copy of the presentation made by PEPG. Their general findings were that:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gender Politics: Bathrooms, Locker Rooms …

Ready Fire AimI attended a local school board meeting (Alpine School District) today and made the following comments to share my views on the recent edict from the Federal Departments of Justice and Education (click here to see their Letter on Transgender Students). This is what I wrote in advance and not necessarily the exact words I used.

I would like to speak to the issue of gender identity based usage of bathrooms and locker rooms. With the assumption that students are being harmed by the current birth gender policy and without regard to whether this is a federal  overreach I have several concerns:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Highland East-West Connector History

To support an upcoming meeting (May 26, 2016, 7 PM at City Hall) with Representative Kennedy and Senator Dayton, where the East-West Connector road will be discussed, I am providing historical information to residents so that our conversation can be an informed one.

For over 35 years an East-West Corridor road has been a part of Highland’s Master Plan. The 1980 Master Street Plan below shows two alternate routes (highlighted in yellow).

1980-06-13 Street Master Plan

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

City Council 5-Apr-2016: Utility Rate Study, Library Re-write …

imageAbout 30 people attended the meeting. Most were there to participate in the discussion on a rezone request for 7.25 acres of land located in the northeast quadrant of Highland. One of the most interesting items on the agenda was the library report. The other was the Utility Rate Study update. 

As a preamble to the meeting notes I would like to give some background and share personal thoughts relative to the Utility Rate Study underway which will recommend rate increases for each of the utilities. Please note that since I am publishing this so late I’ve included the utility rate data from the May 3rd council meeting which has the final recommendations (see item 10).

My Perspective On the Utility Rate Study

There are charges that appear on each of our utility bills which generate revenue for the following enterprise funds:

  • Culinary water (water base + water overage)
  • Pressurized Irrigation (PI Water)
  • Sewer (Sewer + Timp Sewer District)
  • Storm Drain/Sewer

2015-2016 Utility Expense Budgets

Each fund is managed as a separate entity with its own revenue source and expense items (personnel, maintenance, and capital expenses). By law the city cannot use excess cash from these funds for general fund expenses (roads, parks, police, fire …) unless the council approves the action and the transfer is treated as a loan. Note, enterprise funds may be transferred to the general fund without the payback requirement if the council goes through the notice and transfer requirements required by state law. The council can transfer cash from the general fund to an enterprise fund but has not done so for at least 5 years.

Over the last year city staff has produced 10 year maintenance and operation plans for each of these enterprises. These were reviewed and approved by the council, often after much discussion. These included not only projected maintenance costs (e.g. pump rebuilds) but also anticipated capital expenses (pump replacement, sewer line expansion …) Our instructions to staff on approving each of these was to review and update these on an annual basis.  Note, if you go the end of any of these plans you can see a summary of the maintenance and capital expenses in table form.

After reviewing these plans it was quite obvious that a rate study was warranted and we put a bid out to have the study performed by an outside firm. Zion’s, who performed our impact fee study, won the bid and the study is nearly complete. The study used the approved plans as input and looked at each fund from the standpoint of what rate will be required for each fund to maintain a sufficient reserve and cover the planned maintenance and capital expenses. Zion’s provided both a pay as you go model and a model where 20-year bonds were used to create a smoother cost curve for residents.

From the outset I vigorously opposed the bonded approach. I also believe that we should take an analytical approach to this rather than a political approach. By this I mean we should see where the numbers fall instead of dictating that they cannot exceed a certain amount because that would be unacceptable to some residents.

As we reviewed the progress of the study, each of the prior approved capital expense items were looked at again. As a result several items were taken off the list such as those related items which would be required solely as a result of development of the state owned land between the High School and the Development Center. Pressurized irrigation meters were also eliminated because of the high cost. Additionally, the installation of chlorination systems at each culinary water well was not moved up (I supported budgeting to be able start this within the next 3 years).

I believe the city council’s obligation is to approve a plan that we deem is in the best long term interest of the city, be sure that this is based on the best data that we can gather and share this with residents. I have endeavored to do this by providing notes on each council meeting and by giving you access to the same data we see. I also believe the most accurate picture is provided by giving you the best estimate we can on how your rate will be impacted in specific dollar amounts rather than simply citing a percentage. Leading with the percentage increase or decrease can create confusion. For example, if I told you a specific rate was going to be raised by 20% you might think that was OK unless the base rate was $250/month. On the other hand you might be very concerned if I told you a rate was being increased by 100% even though the base rate was $2.00.

Note, some have compared a utility rate increase to a tax increase. I suppose that if you think of it as “the government” getting more of your money then that could be true. However, unlike a tax it is not a crime to get behind on a utility bill. Your water can be shut off (not sure how your sewer can be shut off) but the city cannot take your home. I think a more fair comparison is to your electric bill, which by the way has increased by about 4.3% per year for the last 10 years. Our last utility rate change was in 2011. From my point of view the utilities are a government owned business (scary, I know) which needs to break even each year plus have a sufficient reserve to handle unforeseen expenses and planned maintenance and capital expenses. Any increase is a cost of living increase but no different in my mind than an increase in the electric power rate.

If a utility fund does not have a sufficient reserve or enough cash to pay for planned expenses then I believe it is our responsibility to revise rates to ensure it does. The PI reserve fund currently stands at  $520. Not much for an enterprise that spends $1.8M per year. So even if we had no maintenance or capital expenses to save for we would still need to raise PI rates.

Fun Facts RELATED To The Utilities

  • You may have heard that the pressurized irrigation system provides residents with an unlimited supply of water to use on our land. Prior city staff members have made such statements but this is absolutely not true. All of the properties served by pressurized irrigation put water shares at rate of 3 acre feet per acre into the system (note,1 acre foot = 325,851 gallons). That means that if you have a 1 acre parcel you are entitled to use up to 3 acre feet of pressurized irrigation water per year. On low water years the city may only receive 60% of is water allotment. In this case each property owner is only entitled to use 60% of its share. Since we do not meter PI water this is unfortunately impossible to enforce. It would cost over $4M to add meters to all existing PI connections which is not really feasible in the near future.
  • The largest part of your sewer bill (in my case 87%) goes to the Timpanogos Special Service District and is a rate we do not control. We do have one council member (Brian Braithwaite) who serves on the 13 member board.
  • Highland drinking water is not treated prior to reaching our tap. It comes to us directly from underground wells. We are the largest city in Utah that does not chlorinate its drinking water.
  • The Pressurized Irrigation Bond will be paid off in 2022. Bond payments are about $428,000 per year. That is the primary reason for the projected drop in PI rates in 2023.
  • Recent staff and council actions that have saved the city money:
    $700,000 was saved by rerouting the Highland Fields sewer line
    $150,721 saved over 11 years by refinancing the Building Bond
    $379,197 saved over 11 years by refinancing the Parks Bond
    $17,600 saved per year by outsourcing street sweeping service
    $175,000 saved from the road reconstruction budget by simultaneously upgrading the sewer on the 10400 North reconstruction

By the way city staff and put together an excellent summary of why the rate study is being conducted, where we are at, and what the next steps are in the process. Click here for details. I appreciate the effort that they’ve made to be transparent. I know this is a an issue which concerns many residents. I personally welcome any input and especially appreciate it when people do their homework first.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • Representatives from the Distinguished Young Women of Highland thanked the council for discounting the conference room rate (actually, Councilman Irwin had offered to pay for the room) and gave council members tickets to their upcoming program.

  • Dennis Kane wanted to know if culinary water was more expensive than pressurized irrigation water. He explained that he is paying more for water than gas or electricity. We invited him to stay to the end of the meeting where we would be discussing the utilities rates. Note, he did stay and then said afterward regarding our discussion “if all residents were here they would have a lot more confidence that the council was trying to manage funds in the best interest of the residents.”

Presentations

  1. Room for Everyone, Highland City Library Renovation Plan – Janae Wahnschaffe, Library Director and Carol Rice, Outreach Director
    Since joining the library a couple of months ago Janae has worked with staff to re-evaluate the physical organization of the library and has put together an plan entitled “Room for Everyone: Highland Library Re-Write.” The council and library board are very supportive of this and the other changes Janae has implemented that more effectively utilize our tax dollars.

    2016-04-05 Library Re-Write

    The Re-Write will make significant changes to the children’s section, create a teen area and increase the number of books available to patrons (which qualify Highland to becoming a full member of the North County Library Coop). Funding for the “Re-Write” will come from donations.

    Click here to view a short presentation on the “Re-Write” and here for additional details.

CONSENT ITEMS

  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – March 1, 2016: Approved unanimously. Click here for details.

  2. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – March 15, 2016: Approved unanimously. Click here for details

  3. MOTION: Final Plat Approval – Pincock Estates located at 10215 Alpine Hwy. This is for a 5 lot R-120 development as shown below:

    2016-04-05 Pincock Estates - sm

    Approved unanimously. Click here for details

  4. MOTION: Lifting of the Temporary Land Use Regulation – Application and Approval of Final Plats North of 11800 North. Because of the uncertainty on how a lawsuit regarding a prior unpaid debt that the city lost track of we froze the approval of land development north of 11800 N. Had we been aware of the debt impact fees would have been revised. With the issue settled (see item 6) the restriction can be lifted. Approved unanimously. Click here for details.

  5. MOTION: Ratification of the Settlement Agreement with HIWO Investments - DAE/Westbrook Development Agreement. DAE/Westbrook developed infrastructure (roads, sewer, water) that benefited homes built north of 11800 N east of Highland Blvd. The city agreed make payments towards a $700,000 debt to  DAE/Westbrook beginning in 2002. This debt was purchased by HIWO as a result of DAE/Westbrook’s bankruptcy.  The city had made no payments towards the $700,000 obligation. The debt was settled for $400,000, $200,000 of which will be paid this fiscal year and $200,000 which will be paid next. Approved unanimously. Click here for details.

  6. MOTION: Approval of a Contract for the 10770 North Storm Water Overflow Project - Cole Peck Co. This is to repair a hillside that was washed out by a large storm event this past year. Approved unanimously. Click here for details

ACTION ITEMS

  1. PUBLIC HEARING / ORDINANCE – Property Rezone – 11550 North 6000 West: The owner of 7.25 acres of county land that is surrounded by Highland city requested that the land be annexed into Highland and zoned R-1-20 (half acre lots). Additionally he asked for waivers to several Development Code and Design Criteria. The surrounding property is R-1-40 and the master plan shows the property to be zoned R-1-40. Most of the neighbors on the north and south would prefer that the property remain R-1-40 although the property owner to the east would be OK with R-1-20.  The planning commission voted to recommend denying the rezone and waivers by a vote of 5 to 0. The property in question is shown below.

    2016-04-05 N Gable Ridge

    After much discussion, including a lot of resident input, the property owner withdrew his request. He will re-design the project and then take it back to the planning commission. Using a R-1-30 zone was discussed although this new zone had not yet been approved. Click here for details

  2. MOTION: Provo River Aqueduct Construction Financing – Murdock Canal. When the Murdock Canal was piped the cost of the project was apportioned to the cities which benefited from the project. We are helping to pay off a bond that was issued for this project. The debt is due October 2017. Our share of the payoff is $234,000 plus $52,000 a year in annual payments. New water shares were created by piping the canal (this represents water not lost through seepage and evaporation). The question on the table is whether whether the city should sell approximately 40 of the 202 shares of new water. Note, these shares will be sold to developers building in Highland. The council unanimously approved this action with a note to verify that the owed amounts are correct (Ed Dennis had expressed some concern that there might be an issue with the amount we were deemed to owe). Click here for details.

MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL & STAFF COMMUNICATION ITEMS

  1. Utility Rate Study – Matt Millis, Zions Bank. Click here for an up-to-date summary with background data of the utility rate study. Click here for the most recent (May 3, 2016) presentation.

    The total monthly utility bill (culinary water, pressurized irrigation, sewer, and storm sewer) for a home on a sitting on a 1/2 acre lot and which uses 12,000 gallons of culinary water and 9,000 gallons of waste water will rise to $94.84 from $81.15 (storm sewer will increase by  $1.32 and PI  by $12.37). Following a rate change Highland would go from having the lowest rate in the surrounding cities to the 3rd lowest. In dollar terms whereas our rate was $11.07 lower than Alpine it would be $2.62 higher. The new rate is still over $15 less than the average of Highland and the surrounding cities. Please note, that unlike Alpine or Cedar Hills, Highland does not have a monthly EMT/Public safety fee (this fee is not included in the comparison chart). See charts below:

Click to open up a separate window to view the chart and data in Google Sheets.



2016-05-03 Utility Rates Total
  1. Speed Sign Information – Justin Parduhn, Public Work Operations & Maintenance Director. March data from the speed signs had not yet been downloaded. In general based on the data the feeling is that the radar speed signs had helped keep speeds level. A long term benefit is that the city can watch trends and identify when areas need to be patrolled.

STAFF AND COUNCIL ACTION ITEM LIST

Description

Requested by / Owner

Due Date

Status

Road Capital Improvement Plan for FY 15-16. Prioritize and Communicate to Residents

City Council

Est. June 2016
 

Study underway

Determine Park Use for Recreation

City Council
Parks Staff

2016

In progress

HW Bldg. – PW Storage Status

City Council
Mayor/PW

Ongoing

In progress

Council Policy and Procedures City Council
Jody
Aug 2016

In progress

Salt Storage Building

Council
Justin

Apr 2016 Engineering review
Election Policy City Council/
Jody Bates
Aug 2016 In progress

LINKS:

Saturday, April 30, 2016

10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

I just listened to a 12 minute speech by NPR Radio Host Celeste Headlee entitled “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” I’ve never heard of her but love her thoughts. If you’d don’t have 12 minutes to listen here is brief a summary.

  1. Don’t multi-task. Be present in the moment.
  2. Don’t pontificate. Enter every conversation as if you have something to learn. If you want to pontificate write a blog :)
  3. Use open ended questions. Start with who, what, when or why questions.
  4. Go with the flow. Let thoughts flow into and out of your mind. That is don’t let yourself be distracted by random thoughts.
  5. If you don’t know then say you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. Conversations are not a promotional opportunity
  7. Try not to repeat yourself.
  8. Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about dates, times, places. They care about you.
  9. Listen. While 9th on this list this is the most important. Calvin Coolidge “No man ever listened his way out of a job.” 
  10. Be brief.

 Bottom line:
Be interested in other people. Ask questions, listen, and be prepared to be amazed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Public Safety Board 31-Mar-2016: 2016-17 Budgets

Police and Fire

Public Safety board Meeting (April 8th)

Tim Irwin could not make it to the meeting so as the Highland alternate board member I attended. The primary discussion item was the 2016-2017 proposed budget. Both the fire department asked for a 2.7% increase and police for a 4%increase.  During the meeting I made the comment that from Highland’s perspective I could not support percentage increase greater than our projected general fund tax revenue increase. Note, if police or fire request a 2% increase Highland will end up with a +2% increase because for both police and fire we are growing faster than the other cities that share in the cost (Fire: Highland, Alpine, and Cedar Hills, Police: Highland and Alpine).

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

My Perspective on a Meeting with Governor Herbert

2013-05-23_Gary_R_Herbert - sm

I was invited to participate in a breakfast meeting with Governor Herbert along with a few other N. county residents, some of whom were state delegates and most of whom had differences with the Governor on important issues. Kudo’s to the Governor for meeting with those who don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with him.

The governor responded to questions regarding Common Core, SB-54 (Count My Vote Compromise), testing, local control and more local control.

Governor Herbert was an active listener and acknowledged that there were issues to be addressed. It was a good experience for me and I believe most of those involved. One item that came out of the discussion was the need for him to hear from a broader set of voices on education related issues and his willingness create a vehicle for doing that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

City Council 15-Mar-2016: Annual Report, City Survey, Annexation, Apple Creek (Town Center Project), Utility Rate and Skydrop sprinkler controller

Survey SaysThere were +14 residents at the council meeting on March 15th and just a couple at the Work Session held the week prior. The work session had two agenda items:

  • (1) An update on the Utility Rate Analysis being performed by Zion’s Bank
  • (2) A presentation on a potential water conservation program.

Both items were interesting and I will cover them briefly before getting to my council notes.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

City Council 16-Feb-2016: Utility Rates, Park Land Purchase, 11800 N/Highland Blvd …

ArgueThere were 15+ people at the meeting. Not sure if it was because I was still recovering from the flue and that the meeting ran from 6 pm to nearly midnight but I managed disagree at some point with all presenters but one, plus all those offering public comment, all councilmen, and the mayor. I think that has to be a record of some sort. We held a one hour work session focused on the utility rate study followed by a 4+ hr. council meeting. Here is a brief summary of my disagreements. You’ll of course want to read the details that follow.

  • Challenged the Zion’s bank representative on information he presented during the Utility Rate Study progress report.
  • Opposed the city subsidizing insurance for the Timpanogos Symphony Orchestra.  Note, our insurance provider declined to cover them under our policy.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

City Council 19-Jan-2016: Work Sessions, Utility Rate, Road Reconstruction, Annual Deer Report, Road Work, Canyon Resolution, Severance Pay

Below are my notes from the Jan 12th Worksession. I think you’ll find them interesting.

Work session Jan 12

Utility Rates

We recently contracted with Zion’s ban to do a study analyzing our utility rates. In the last year staff has completed long term maintenance and capital requirements report for each our of utility services -- Culinary water, Pressurized Irrigation (PI), Storm Sewer, and Sewer). The rate study will provide give us insight into what our options are to ensure that we have sufficient funds in the various service accounts to meet the needs of the city (all of us). Zions’ provided a snapshot of where they were on the project which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March (click here to see the presentation). Given the information Zion’s has now here is the fund balance projection.

2016-01-12 Utility Rate Study_thumb[4]

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

City Council 2-Feb-2016: Moratorium on Final Plat Approvals N of 11800 N,

Over 50 people attended the council meeting. We held an executive work session prior to this meeting.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

City Council 05-Jan-2016: 11800 N Intersection Study, Utility Rate Study

Brian Braithwaite Tim Irwin Ed Dennis
Brian Braithwaite
Tim Irwin
Ed Dennis

Brian Braithwaite, Tim Irwin and Ed Dennnis were sworn in for their third, second and first terms respectively prior to the start of the council meeting. Please note, I lost my notes from the meeting and so won’t have as much detailed information as usual.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES