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.

Work Session (March 8th)

  1. Utility Rate Analysis: Zion’s bank reviewed their progress on the rate study and solicited feedback (click here to see the presentation). The capital expenses shown in the report were found in the operating plans that were developed for each of the utilities by staff over the last year. These were individually reviewed and approved by the council. The projected costs include meters for the pressurized irrigation system, plus adding or upsizing existing sewer and water lines to accommodate development of the land south of Lone Peak HS. Note, the council asked that meters be removed from the project list (a $4.7M expense) prior to the final report.

    2016-03-08 Utility Rate Capital Projects

    The report showed the recommended rates for each utility using a pay-as you-go method to fund the capital projects and a bond (debt) assisted approach. The final recommendations will be lower than what is shown below as we took out the $4.7M PI meter expense.

    2016-03-08 Utility Rate Projected Increases - Graph

    2016-03-08 Utility Rate Projected Increases

    The table below compares our current and projected rates with neighboring cities. Bear in mind that the peak rate in the cash scenario will be lower in the final report and as presently identified only last two years.

    2016-03-08 Utility Bill Comparison

    2016-03-08 Utility Bill Comparison - Table

    At this point my personal view is that we should take the cash approach rather than the bond based approach. In the cash approach utility rates will decline once we complete the capital project and build a sufficient reserve (e.g. min reserve is 180 days of operating expenses the target is 275 days). If we take the cash approach I would seek to include language that states once the reserve targets have been met then the rates must be reduced to keep them level before increasing operating expenses (e.g. hiring additional resources) to match revenues. If we take the bond approach we will increase our annual operating costs for 20 years.
  2. Water Conservation Program: Representatives from Skydrop, LLC reviewed with us the benefits of their sprinkler controller and discussed how they would like to offer it at a significant discount to Highland residents (the owner of the company lives in Highland). They have a number of cities that created incentive programs for residents to purchase the system and have found that in these cities pressurized irrigation water use was reduced by 30%.

    The Skydrop controller uses weather data to adjust water use automatically. All that is required is a wireless Internet connection.

    2016-03-08 Skydrop Controller

    Their proposal was for the city to allow residents to include in installation charge in their utility bill and pay for it over a 12 month period. Skydrop would sell the controller to residents for their cost plus factor a $100 rebate from the Central Utah Water Conservatory District, which means the cost to residents would be $0 or close to $0.

    We will see how this progresses but given what I know I would support the city promoting this and working with Skydrop to make their product available to residents. I believe it is a very generous offer from a resident who wants to help our city.

Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Public Comment

  • Robert Udall: A resident who lives on Parkway West near the splash pad was concerned about drivers who speed on Parkway West when there are so many children who play in the area. He was willing to pay for rubber speed bumps that could be removed during the winter.


  1. Annual Report for 2015 – Erin Wells, Assistant to the City Administrator. Erin reviewed a draft copy of the annual city report (click here). The format of the report represents a significant improvement over past reports. Each department’s report has four sections: (1) A description of the department, (2) a list of accomplishments during the previous year, (3) key performance statistics, (4) and a list of major upcoming projects. For example, below are extracts from the Administrative Department section of the report:

    Department Description

    The Administration Department is made up of the City Administrator, Assistant to the City Administrator, Events Coordinator/Risk Manager/Utility Billing Clerk, and Human Resource Technician. (The Human Resource Technician also acts as the Accounts Payable and Payroll Clerk in the Finance Department>.

    The Administration Department is responsible for general oversight and direction for all City services and operations. Responsibilities include: project management, public relations, special events, claim processing, utility billing, employee records and benefits, and employee policies.

    This year the Administration Department made the following accomplishments:

    City Administration

    • Secured $11,000 in reimbursement funding for Highland Glen Mountain Bike Park
    • Launched a new and consistent social media campaign and identity
    • Worked with the Communications Committee to create a new logo and brand for Highland City


    • Partnered with a resident to create and execute a new and successful event – The Highland Pumpkin Walk
    • Secured $500 in reimbursement funding for the Youth Fishing Class from the Division of Wildlife Resources

    Human Resources

    • Worked with insurance broker to reduce insurance premium increase from originally proposed 24% to 8%
    • Conducted annual harassment training
    • ...


    Below are some key statistics for the Administration Department for the past year:

    City Administration

    2016-03-15 Social Media Engagement


    2016-03-15 Civic Event Participation

  2. Resident Survey Results: Erin Wells presented the city survey results to the council (click here for full survey results). 1,094 residents participated in the survey which gave it a +97% confidence level. Thanks to everyone that took the time to participate! The split between online and mail-in surveys was 51%/49%.

    The most preferred communication vehicle was the city newsletter at ~68%, followed by email at ~58% and website at ~39%. Included in the top 5 priorities were roads, debt reduction, rec center, economic development, and more parks. Of course, building a recreation center and more parks would significantly contribute to increasing expenses rather than reducing debt as would roads. Roads in my view are an essential service whereas a rec center and additional parks are not.

    Here are a few of the results

    2016-03-15 Top Ratings

    2016-03-15 Good or Excellent Ratings

    2016-03-15 Communication Preference


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

  2. MOTION: Final Plat Approval – Dry Creek Highlands Phase 7: Ivory Development, Inc. requested the approval of a 11 lot single family residential subdivision. Lot sizes range from 22,249 square feet to 30,741 square feet (R140 Zone). The council approved preliminary plats for this phase on May 6, 2014. Access to the site will be from Highland Boulevard.Unanimously approved. Click here for details.

    2016-03-15 Dry Creek Phase 7

  3. MOTION: Waiver of Final Plat and Civil Plan Review Fees - Pincock Property. The council moved that the final plat fee ($1,229), already paid, be applied to the civil fee ($4,093)  Note, the plat fee was paid twice since the filing for the original plat approval was allowed to lapse. The Pincock property was the property the city considered purchasing to be used for additional parking for Heritage Park and to build a park maintenance building. This took 2 council meetings to finalize (the council elected not to proceed with the purchase). Unanimously approved. Click here for details

  4. MOTION: Authorization to Proceed with Road Reconstruction - 6000 West from 10400 North South to the North side of the Murdock Canal Trail: The city is already doing work on 10400 N in the vicinity of this section of 6000 W and consequently additional road work performed will be less expensive than doing a separate project later. Also, since the county owns half of most of this section of road and has agreed to pay for their portion of the work our cost is further reduced. Our cost for this road work is $72,994.69 and Utah County is responsible for $48,663.12. Click here for details.

    2016-03-15 Road Reconstruction 6000 W


  1. ORDINANCE: Amending Section 10.09.030 of the Highland City Municipal Code – Parking of Vehicles over 10,000 Gross Vehicle Weight: A resident of Highland sought to have the following ordinance revised as follows:

    Section 10.09.030 Limited Parking of Commercial Vehicles
    Parking of commercial vehicles in residential zones shall be limited to one commercial vehicle. not to exceed a one-ton chassis per lot Vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight shall be parked in the rear yard and screened by a six foot opaque fence.

    The change is being requested to legally allow him to operate a business from his home until it grows to the point where he can justify moving it to a separate piece of land. An immediate neighbor was there to express his support for the change.

    The council voted 4 to 1 leave the ordinance as is. Tim Irwin was opposed.Click here for details.

    For Tim it was a property rights issue. Since this was a change to existing code that would impact the entire city (as opposed to just this property owner) I did not support the change. Subsequent to the meeting, I recalled the city manager saying that most complaints about commercial vehicles dealt with noise in the early morning. I might have been friendly to the argument, which was not made, that potential issues with the change could have been mitigated by existing noise ordinances. There are still issues with the impact on local roads by heavy vehicles so I am not sure in the end that I would have changed my vote.

    The vehicle in question was a 1990 BMY M923A2 dump truck. This is a truck typically used by the military as a heavy cargo truck. The weight of the chassis and cab is 21,550 pounds. The gross vehicle weight is 31,550 or 16.5 tons. The dump bed adds additional weight.
    2016-03-15 Commercial Vehicle

  2. RESOLUTION: Intent to Adjust Property Boundaries with Alpine City – 5359 West 11430 North: A Highland resident would like to purchase an adjoining piece of property from an Alpine resident and have the city boundaries adjusted to accommodate the purchase. Alpine City Council has approved the city. The council unanimously approved this.  Click here for details.
    2016-03-15 Belcher Boundary Adjustment

  3. RESOLUTION: Intent to Annex 7.25 Acres of Real Property - 11530 North 6000 West. The council unanimously approved filing the intent to annex this property, which is currently county land. Click here for details.

    2016-03-15 Property Annexation

  4. MOTION: Authorization for Staff to begin with Disposal Process - Spring Creek Park Property: The council unanimously approved this motion with one small change (added by Brian Braithwaite) to highlight that this approval was simply to start the disposition process, not approve the sale. A public hearing will need to be held prior to approving any sale. The motive behind the sale is to raise funds to develop the park adjacent to Mountain Ridge Jr High or to put into a account that would be used to help make bond payments to the park bond. We’ve discussed this issue at a previous meeting and I believe most of the council (including me) favors option one. Click here for details.

    2016-03-15 Spring Creek


  1. Apple Creek Development – McKay Christensen: A developer is presented an updated proposal to create a senior living residential development in Town Center Much of the parking would be below ground. These would be 3-story units. This was simply a presentation to the council. We would have re-zone the area to allow this to be built. Click here to review the presentation.

    Following is a brief summary followed by some images from the presentation. Apple Creek is a senior-housing development
    for those 55 and older.
    •  Project Site: 6 acres
    •  Residential Units: 219
    •  Parking: 317 stalls (110 underground stalls)
    •  East Retail: 8,659 sq. ft.
    •  West Retail (Library & Arts Center): approx. 20,000 sq. ft.

    2016-03-16 Apple Creek 1

    2016-03-16 Apple Creek 2

    2016-03-16 Apple Creek 3

    Changes as a result of our meetings with the City and the surrounding
    •  Reduced floor to floor height from 10’ to 11’. Reduced height by 3’
    •  Removed roof and went to parapet.  Reduced height by 15’
    •  Went from four stories to three stories. Reduced height by 10’
    •  Total reduction in height: 28’ lower at the parapet & 18’ lower at the gables
    • 110 underground parking stalls
    •  Increase East Retail from approx. 6,022 to 8,659 sq. ft.
    •  Total Retail (including library space) approx. 28,000 sq. ft.

    Please note this was only a presentation. There is a process including neighborhood meetings, planning commission review, public hearings, and city council  approval that will need to be followed in order for the development to proceed beyond a concept. Council approval in this case will be legislative which means we have more more discretion than the Blackstone decision which was administrative where we were bound by existing law.



Requested by / Owner

Due Date


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

March 2016

Staff to make recommendations

HW Bldg. – PW Storage Status

City Council


In progress

Speed Sign Information Collected


March 2016

In progress

Salt Storage Building


March 2016 Engineering review
Election Policy City Council/
Jody Bates
August 2016 In progress


  • Council agenda with my rough notes. If you want to review my comments to staff and rough notes in the PDF file you will need to first download it before opening it with Adobe Reader. If you click on the comment button on the top right of the Adobe Reader application or in the Tools Menu, depending on the version of Adobe Reader you are using, you will see a list of all comments in a panel on the right side of your screen. Note, this is a large file and may take a minute to download.
  • Staff presentation. Presentation used by staff to go through agenda items.
  • Apple Creek Senior Living in Town Center Presentation


  1. Thanks for the update, Rod. Put me down as in favor of the Skydrop sprinkler controller. I think in this day, it makes sense to use technology like this to conserve our precious water. I have nearly pulled the trigger on something like this a couple times, but couldn't quite stomach the price. This sounds like a win for everyone.


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding this post.