Sunday, April 17, 2022

2021 Mayor’s Messages: Highland City Newsletter

Highland Insider 2021

Below are my city newsletter messages from 2021 as well as my final newsletter message from Jan 2022. I always gave considerable thought into the content of these and appreciated the feedback I received from residents.

January 2021 Newsletter

The Infinite gives to no man happiness; but only the raw material from which it can be made. He provides iron ore but never plowshares, clay but not bricks, wheat but not loaves. The material from which one man forms only an abode of misery, another transforms into a temple of joy."—William George Jordan, The Crown of Individuality, 1909.

2021 Highland Living Magazine Mayor’s Messages

Highland Living Masthead

The following are my mayor messages in the Highland Living magazine for 2021 plus one in 2022 as it was my last one. This magazine is delivered free to all single family residences in Highland and is published by Best Version Media.

January 2021 Highland Living Magazine

Happiness is the greatest paradox in nature. It can grow in any soil, live under any conditions.”—William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, 1900

I suspect that many of us learned last year that Jordan’s comment on happiness is true. In spite of a very interesting year, life continued. The sun rose every day and the sources of happiness and joy did not disappear. We also learned the importance of family and connections with others.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Perspective

The Adoration of the Shepherds
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

This short story, written by my wife, about one of her ancestors who did not have a lot of money but was rich in love, brings me to tears. The setting is Kaysville, UT in the mid to late 1850s. For me it puts the proper perspective on giving and Christmas. It is not the value or quantity of the gifts we give or receive but the love which fills our hearts that brings joy and happiness.

Homemade Shoes by Suzanne Mann

Come here, my darlings. Let me secure your feet!
School is very far away, and the weather is frightfully cold today

Monday, December 13, 2021

Highland Traffic Data

2021-12-16 Highland TrafficThis post allows you to access traffic data Highland City has collected from 2016 through 2021 via a Google map or a list of collector and residential roads. Following the lists are sets of comparative charts for roads where multiple traffic counts exist. Each set consists of three charts that compare traffic counts, average speed, and percentage of traffic that is within the speed limit, moderately over the limit, and significantly exceeds the limit.

If speeding is an issue it is possible that the speed limit is set too low or there that there is an issue with the configuration of the road. The speed most people drive has more to do with their feel of what a safe speed is rather than the posted speed limit. Factors that influence the “feel” include:

  • Lane and shoulder configurations, widths, and presence of curbs
  • Presence of surrounding developments to the street
  • Medians and turn lane configurations

At the end of the post are links to information on setting speed limits from the Federal Highway Administration, Institute of Traffic Engineers, and Strong Towns. They all agree with the assessment above.

Google Map with traffic data collection points
The red icons show the locations. The “car” icon indicates that tubes were used to collect data while the “WIFI” icon indicates that radar was used. Note, Highland City purchased radar traffic counters early in 2021. Clicking an icon in the map below shows the date(s) data was collected and provides a link to a summary report for each collection. Note, if you click on the view larger map icon in the top right corner of the map a separate map will open up in its own window.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 7-Dec-2021


There are a number of interesting items on the agenda for our last scheduled council meeting of the year including:

  • A report on pressurized irrigation usage for 2021.
  • An ordinance to govern the use of the recently passed Park Tax.
  • Approval of a contract to drill a new deeper (1,200 ft) culinary water well adjacent to an existing well that is underperforming.
  • Continued discussion on the disposal of open space property.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

2021 Highland City General Election Results

2021 Highland City General Election % Turnout by Precinct

Congratulations Highland! 40.9% of registered voters participated in this years municipal election. It is the 2nd highest turnout in the last 12 years! The highest was 41.1% in 2017.

We had an uncontested mayoral race, four candidates running for two council seats as well as two propositions. The propositions were:

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Family Stories: A Thanksgiving Message

Family Stories

“Today we give thanks, most of all, for the ideals of honor and faith we inherit from our forefathers—for the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed and which we must seek to emulate. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”—President John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, Nov 1963.

What a wonderful tribute to our heritage and our obligation to live up to it. Did you know that a study by doctors Marshall Duke and Robin Fivush showed that the more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the better they believe their families functions?

Monday, November 8, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 9-Nov-2021

As of Friday, Nov 5th there were 127 ballots left to be counted out of 4,752 that had been received by the county. Below are the results as of Friday:


Thanks to those who participated in the political process and voted! Our turnout was nearly 40%, which is above average for municipal elections in Highland. Click here to view recent municipal election turnout info and click here to view the latest election results.

For Tuesday’s council meeting there are a number of interesting items on the agenda including:

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Highland City 2021 Election Information Sources

Your Vote CountsFor those who have not voted yet there there are lots of sources  of information available to help in your decision. Those who are elected will serve for four years and represent us on many issues. Judgement, temperament, and the ability to work with others are key factors that will affect their ability to effectively serve the residents of Highland.

When issues are looked at from different perspectives the city council ends up making better decisions. However, when discussions turn contentious, creativity is diminished and the decisions made are 2nd or 3rd best. Below are a list of links to sites and videos where you can learn more about the candidates and issues plus a couple of posts where I share my points of view:

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Is The Annexation of 109 Acres Into Lehi Rather Than Highland Good or Bad?


I would like to clear some some issues which were raised in two flyers from a council candidate. Here is a quote from each:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Highland City Proposition 1: Shall the city sell 1.1 miles of existing city trails and 5.8 acres of open space in the Wimbleton subdivision

2021-10-05 12.50.19 - crop

In December of 2019 the city council voted 3 to 2 to surplus 1.1 miles of trail in the Wimbleton Subdivision and sell 5.77 acres of adjoining open space. Subsequent to the vote a group of residents filed to refer the decision to voters. They collected 1,857 signatures in support of this effort, many more than the minimum required. As a result of their work Proposition 1, which asks residents whether or not they support the council decision,  is listed on this year’s ballot (click here to read the Voter Information Pamphlet for a detailed description).

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Selecting Candidates for Local Office 2021


This November, residents of Highland will have the opportunity to determine who will fill two city council seats. Candidates for these offices are asking for the privilege to spend five to twenty or more hours a week, for the next four years. They will make decisions that affect us today and years into the future. Over the term of their office they will be responsible for ~$90M of city expenses and will cast votes that affect zoning, roads, public safety, sewer, water, etc. In short, their actions affect us on a daily basis.

Let me offer a few thoughts on identifying candidates who will serve our community well:

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 5-Oct-2021

This will be an interesting meeting. Below are the agenda items which captured my attention:

  • Rentable Scooters in Highland presentation
  • Annual library report
  • DR Horton/Lehi/Highland agreement
  • Mountain Ridge Park development decision
  • Mitchell Hollow Baseball Field partnership agreement

Monday, September 20, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 9 Nov 2021

As of Friday, Nov 5th there were 127 ballots left to be counted out of 4,752 that had been received by the county. Below are the results as of Friday:

2021-11-05 Election Data

Thanks to those who participated in the political process and voted! Our turnout was nearly 40%, which is above average for municipal elections in Highland. Click here to view recent municipal election turnout info and  click here to view the latest election results.

For Tuesday’s council meeting there are a number of interesting items on the agenda including:

Monday, September 13, 2021

Meet with the Mayors – September 2021

2021-09-13 MTWM
Below is a video recording of a discussion on current and future issues facing Highland City with the current mayor, Rod Mann, and next year’s mayor, council member Kurt Ostler.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 7 Sept 2021

Forrest Gump fans will appreciate the “2-Minute Tuesday” video summary of the  the Aug 17th council meeting. Don’t forget to watch the trailer at the end. As usual, it is entertaining.

Here are what I believe are the more interesting agenda items on the city council agenda:

  • Staff will share an update on pressurized irrigation water use.
  • Council member Kurt Ostler will give an update on Dry Creek Lake.
  • Boyer will provide an update on their development south of Lone Peak High School (Ridgeview). Those interested in the project will find it interesting. Costa Vida and Arby’s fans will be happy to know these two restaurants will be included in the commercial area.
  • Staff will discuss the process for bidding out Mountain Ridge Park.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 17 August 2021: Mitchell Hollow Trail, Run Club …

Below is the most recent “2-Minute Tuesday” video from Utah’s Highlander summarizing the Aug 3rd council meeting. The City Council and Mayor let down their hair a did a little celebrating for Fling Week. This video is fun and includes some highlights from the Fling! Note, decorations were courtesy of Suzanne Mann and the Highland Fling Baby Celebration - which was held in the council room earlier in the day.

Here are what I believe are the interesting agenda items:

  • Final plat approval for Sunrise Farms. 10 homes on the north end of the Long Horn field. This is an administrative decision and is on the consent item list because it meets all requirements.
  • Mitch Hollow Trail extension funding. The final design was about $218,000 more than the original estimate. The discussion will center around how to fund the increase. There are several options.
  • A discussion on the Run Club which is an organized group of youth who run for about 30 minutes in the morning during the summer in Canterbury Circle Park. Can they continue to run there next year? There have been a couple of complaints by residents near the park. Do they need to go elsewhere?

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 3 August 2021

Below is the most recent “2-Minute Tuesday” video from Utah’s Highlander summarizing the July 20th council meeting. The Lions, Tigers, and Bears theme is appropriate.

There are several interesting agenda items including:

  • Approval of an additional office building on Sunset Drive and Highland Blvd
  • Resolution to put a RAP tax on the ballot this fall.
  • Discussion of how ARPA funds may be used.
  • Discussion on garbage cans and doggie bags in city parks.

Monday, August 2, 2021

2021 Highland City Survey Overview and Responses to Comments

2021 Resident Survey Participation Comparison
This year we had the highest number of survey respondents since we started the surveys. Thank you to those who participated. Your responses really do impact decisions. Nearly half of those who submitted a survey provided written comments (631 out of 1270).

The top three issues based on the % of comments made were:
  • Taxes & Fees (26% pf comments): A number of residents asked that the city quit raising taxes or fees. The city has not raised property tax since at least 2008. For 2020 Highland City had the 2nd lowest property tax rate in N. Utah County. We did add a public safety and road fee in recent years and adjusted the other fees (Pressured Irrigation, Sewer, Storm Sewer, & Culinary Water) to cover the costs of maintaining those systems. In spite of those changes our utility rates are slightly below the N. County Average. Click here for comparative information.
  • Parks & Trails (24% of comments): It is clear from comments that parks and trails are valued in Highland and that residents want us to take better care of them, especially the trails. A number of people indicated that they do not want trails to be sold. Earlier this year the council approved a 5-year trail rehabilitation plan, last year we seal coated over 60% of the trails, and we started a puncture weed control program this year. It also looks like we will be starting to develop Mountain Ridge park next year.
  • Roads & Traffic (22% of comments): Some expressed concern regarding the lack of progress on our roads. We are in the 4th year of our 7-year road rehabilitation plan and are on track. However, we still have 3 years to go so there is a fair amount of work we still need to do. Click here to see all the projects we did in 2020. For information about our 7-year road plan and the current status please click here. One of the  most asked about projects, 6800 W south of 9600 W (road to Costco), was delayed until 2022 because of right of way acquisition issues. We did complete the connector road between Alpine Hwy and Highland Blvd this year, something many thought would never happen. Many are concerned about the increase in traffic in Highland as well as speeding.  Unfortunately, we will not see a decrease in traffic in the coming years as Highland and the rest of the county continues to grow. Creating more road connections does help disperse traffic and improve traffic flow within the city.

Note, the next highest category was density/development/zoning which represented 10% of the comments.

Comparing this years results with previous years here are some things I found interesting:

  • The quality of life rating improved for the first time in 6 years. We’ve been holding at 3.5 but bumped up to 3.5 the year.
  • Overall, ratings improved by 0.6%.
  • Roads has improved each year since 2016.
  • All public works ratings improved this year (average 5.2%)
  • All public safety ratings declined this year (average -1.8%). Crime prevention and fire had the biggest decline 2.2%. Interestingly enough according to the most recent FBI data Highland (and Alpine) have the lowest crime rate of any city in Utah with a population over 10,000.

Below are charts and graphs that include a comparison of common questions from the 2016 to 2021 survey responses and summarize the 2021 survey responses  Please be patient they may take a while to load.

2016 to 2021 Comparisons

2016 to 2021 Source Data:

2021 Survey Charts

Click here to view the 2021 summary data upon which these charts were based.

Comments and Replies

Please note, my replies to comments were written between March and July of 2021. They represented my thoughts at the time. As I learn more about an issue my opinions are subject to change. I did try to be accurate in my responses but I may not have had all the facts or circumstances may have changed since I replied.

Comment sentiment ratings (positive, neutral, or negative) were subjective. I based the ratings on the tone of the comment. For example, most suggestions for improvement were deemed neutral or in some cases positive. If the comment included a personal attack or adjectives like horrible, terrible ... I rated it negative.

Comment Summary Information

All Comments and Responses
Comments are ordered by the survey section the appear in: General, Library Adult, and Library Youth.

Comments by Top 3 Topics

1. Taxes and Fees

2. Parks & Trails

3. Roads and Traffic

Links to current and prior survey data:

List of links that were included in replies to comments:

Other Links

Monday, July 19, 2021

Highland City Council Preview for 20 July 2021: Finalize Orphan Property Sale Resolution, Urban Deer Program Renewal

Below is the most recent “2-Minute Tuesday” video from Utah’s Highlander summarizing the July 6th council meeting. Fireworks were definitely on display and I guess that goes with the season..

There are several interesting agenda items including:

  • PI Usage report
  • Open Space maintenance update
  • Urban Deer Program Renewal
  • Review and approve initial orphan property sales
  • Discussion of RAP tax which is 0.1% sales tax that can be used to fund Recreation, Arts, and Parks. In Highland’s case this money would be used to fund parks and trails.