Saturday, February 8, 2014

City Council Meeting Feb 4, 2014

This week’s agenda had only three motions, a presentation by Republic Garbage, and one staff report. Prior to the start of the meeting Kasey Wright gave a short presentation on Open Meetings, ethics and disclosures. He did a good job making it informative and fun.

Prior to the meeting Gary LeCheminant, city finance director, sent the council answers to questions that were raised last council meeting about the audit.

During the time allotted for council members to make comments there was an extended discussion on the changes to the minutes and agendas I requested last council meeting. We unanimously agreed that we wanted to include action items in =-the minutes as part of a summary section and to include unfinished action items in the agenda section. I volunteered to send a sample of what this would look like to the city recorder.

Alyssa Dailey from Republic Service(our waste collection firm)  made a presentation to the council wherein she mentioned that 52.5% of households in Highland pay for a recycling “can” ($4.45/mo). Highland currently has an “opt-in” recycle program; that is, if residents want to participate in recycling they have to ask. Our participation rate is close to that of cities that have “opt-out” policies (residents have to request not to participate in recycling). Note, I would not support switching to an “opt-out” program.

One of the positives to recycling for the city is that it reduces the fee we are charged to haul trash from the transfer center to dump. We pay a fee based on the weight of the garage that is transported from the transfer station to the dump. Recyclable waste is taken from the transfer station at no charge. Last year our hauling fees would have been $14,000 higher absent recycling.

Here are the motions that were discussed:

  1. Approval of meeting minutes for Jan 21, 2014 – Approved
  2. Approval  of amendments to the municipal code sections 13.30.150 (Connection to Pressured Irrigation Required), 13.60.050 (Outside Watering) and a new section 13.06.070 (Penalties) – Deferred. A motion was raised and approved to postpone the vote until the next council meeting to give the council a chance to review changes to the amendment proposed by the mayor. The Mayor’s changes were technical in nature. The objective of changing the ordinance in the first place was to make the ordinance more clear, not change the original intent, and to set a penalty for non-compliance. After reviewing the changes I plan to vote to approve them.
  3. Creation of the Open Space ADHOC Committee. Approved. Note, the previous Open Space Committee’s term had expired (12/31/2013) and this motion in essence keeps the committee alive as the mayor intends to ask the same people to participate in new committee as the old one.

I spoke with Brian Gwilliam, Lone Peak Police Chief, after the meeting regarding his annual report (I will be asking for him to present it to the council when it is completed) and to follow up on a conversation we had prior to my election.  When I spoke with him during the campaign one of the things that came up during our conversation was setting up a periodic (annual?) meeting with the chief and local ecclesiastical leaders to discuss crime in Highland. We decided that we would set this up after the 2013 report was completed. I also asked if the 2012 report was available. He said it was and rather than email it to me he had it put on the Lone Peak Police website (great idea!). You might want to look at it. The 2013 report should be completed with a month.

Note, I called the mayor of Alpine to see if he wanted to have a combined meeting. He liked the idea of having the chief meet with ecclesiastical leaders but will be adding this as an agenda item to another meeting he is already planning to hold.

Tuesday, Feb 11th, the council and staff will be having a work session to discuss 2014 goals. The meeting will be in the multi-purpose room and will start at 5 PM. Here are a few of the items that are on my mind:

  • I would like the staff to feel empowered to make recommendations for improvements and create long-term plans without specific direction from council.
  • I would like to ensure that the city has an updated emergency plan and that there is regular communication regarding this plan Highland’s church emergency prep leaders so that in the event of an emergency we all know what to do. Should there be a community emergency prep committee that the city participates in?
  • I would like to see the city use its website and social media properties to more actively engage with the community and be a vehicle that can be used to promote local business. If we can put a web/tech/communication committee together I wonder if there wouldn’t be someone that could find or create a mobile app to take pictures of potholes and other road damage to put into a queue of road issues that the city could address. is an example of a free app that can help with this.
  • I don’t know what our budget process is now but if we are not doing zero based budgeting I would like us to consider moving to zero based budgeting.
  • I would also like to increase resident awareness of the budget as it is being developed. Providing a link to a spreadsheet version would help residents who want to do their own analysis. Also, a budget report that looks more like Alpine’s than our previous ones would also help residents understand the budget.

Please feel free to share any thoughts you might have for the city.relative to 2014 goals.

A resident sent me the following ideas:

  1. Teach and implement Value Engineering principles and procedures throughout the entire city operation. I would expect the greatest return to come from Landscape Management and Road Maintenance but the process would be equally beneficial within the walls of City Hall.
  2. Develop a “Road Maintenance Plan” that is based on the principles taught in “Switch”, “Good to Great” and “World Class Manufacturing”. The least important part of the plan is which roads to fix The “PLAN” should start with an approach, an attitude, a vision. Mandating a “Plan” by 1 April without specifying the criteria is …..
  3. Implement an “Employee Development” program that teaches management principles. The objective is to develop a more highly skilled and more effective employees.
  4. Reorganize the city to reduce the levels of management from six to a private sector level. Start with a published organization chart. There are many great suggestions in the book “Good to Great”.

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