Sunday, June 8, 2014

City Council and Budget Work Session 3-Jun-2014

2014-04-29 2015 Budget Revenue Sources

Here is the meeting agenda with my notes in line (in italics)


  1. Public Comment: Just a few people were in attendance (15). Scott Smith made a few comments about the budget and city employees.


  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for City Council Work Session – May 6, 2014 — Approved no discussion

  2. MOTION: Ratifying the Mayor’s Appointment of Board Member to the Highland City Water Advisory Board - Brent Wallace — Approved no discussion

  3. MOTION: Ratifying the Mayor’s Re-appointment of Board Members to the Highland City. Library Board - Blythe Shupe and Janeen Ashcraft — Approved no discussion

  4. MOTION: Final Plat Approval – Ivory Development, Dry Creek Phase 5 located at the southwest corner of Highland Boulevard and 11800 North— Approved after discussion. The discussion was actually not about phase 5 but rather an adjacent issue that had been raised by residents of phase 3 at a previous council meeting. The issue was whether or not a fence on the south side of 11800 N should have been built. Ken Watson from Ivory sent a letter to the council reviewing the issue and showing that no fence was required. City staff also investigated and could no fence requirement.

  5. MOTION: Final Plat Approval – David and Amber Clegg, (Robinson) Subdivision located at the northwest corner of 9600 North and Alpine Highway— Approved no discussion.

  6. MOTION: Preliminary Plat Approval – Highland Fields located at the southeast corner of 11800 North and Highland Boulevard North. — Approved no discussion

  7. MOTION: Preliminary Plat Approval – Pace Manor located south of the southeast corner of 4800 West and 11200 North— Approved no discussion


  1. PUBLIC HEARING/RESOLUTION: Approval of Tentative Budget - 2014-2015 Fiscal Year. The council deferred discussion of this until the work session portion of the meeting.

  2. PUBLIC HEARING/RESOLUTION: Adopting Final Amendments - Highland City 2013-14 Fiscal Year Budget. Gary reviewed with the council proposed adjustments to this years budget. Quick summary:

  • General Fund revenues adjusted up by$231K (Utility Franchise Tax $75K, Building Permits $70K, Prop Tax $54.5K).
  • General Fund expenses up by $141K (Salaries Wages $38K, Building Maintenance).



I asked that we review the to do list that has been part of the agenda for a couple of months and recommended that we do this each council meeting):


Requested by/Owner

Due Date


Funding plan for Capital Facilities Plan update
and certified impact fee.

Nathan Crane   Waiting for additional information. Should be ready within a couple of months
Committee assignments Rod Mann/ Mayor Thompson   Most assignments have been made. Council assignments other than PSD need to be made public.
Handicap Parking/ Freedom Elementary School Mayor Thompson   City will allow 20 minutes handicap parking zone on the road. Resident considering

5 Year Road Maintenance Plan for FY 14-15
Budget for Maintenance Plan

City Council/
Nathan Crane

April 2014 need a new date

Nathan solicited opinions from council as to what each believed a plan should contain as no one thought what had been presented to date was a plan
Parks Presentation City Council/
Nathan Crane

Oct 2014

Rescheduled for October

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

City Council/
Matt Shipp


Not discussed

Economic Development
Create Highland Chamber of Commerce
Create ADHOC Committee
Create City Direction/Brand

City Council/ Jesse Schoenfeld

Sept 2014

Report due from economic development committee in Sept
Improve Resident to Council Communication City Council/ Rod Mann Sept 2014 Web and Social Committee to report

Website Improvement
Ensure Information is up to date
Organize and assign an “owner”
Refresh the look

City Council/ Rod Mann Sept 2014 Web and Social Committee to report

Budget Work Session

The work session got a little heated a couple of times but overall it was good discussion. Below are the key points discussed.

  • I started the discussion by asking the question, “Should the city donate taxpayer money to charities?” The following summarizes my thoughts and questions (please feel free to share yours):

    1. It doesn't seem right to me that we collect taxpayer revenue and then donate it to charitable causes. For the individual they lose an opportunity to be personally connected with the charity and the charity loses a chance to engage with the community. Do we donate to the Red Cross, girl scouts, boy scouts, Jr. Miss, Miss Timpanogos... . What determines which charities we support?

    2. What can the city do to help local causes raise funds? Add a checkbox to the utility bill (our attorney thought there could be issues with this), spotlight groups in our newsletter and website and describe how they benefit the community.

    3. For groups already benefiting what is the best course to migrate them off?

    In case you were wondering this was one of the topics that initiated a passionate discussion.

  • We agreed to add $200K from the general fund reserve to raise the capital road fund budget to $500K. Note, the city owns two homes on the east side of 4800 W which are for sale. When those are sold the revenue generated from the sale will go into the roads as well. This would offset the draw on our reserve if they sell during the next fiscal year.

  • We agreed to reduce the planned legal budget by $20K

  • The budget for maintenance work on the community center was reduced from $50K to $25K

  • We had a lengthy discussion on the concept of including a line item for roads in each of the utility enterprise funds (Culinary Water, Pressuring Irrigation, Sewer and Storm Sewer) to improve transparency. Each of the utilities do have a negative long term impact on roads. We agreed that this should be looked into. The mayor and staff will work out what the utilities should be charged and then look at whether or not a rate change is required to cover the cost. Note, a 1% charge to each of these would generate $50K for the roads.

  • We also discussed the P&I fund and whether or not a rate increase is required. This fund has run negative for the last couple of years. The mayor had a somewhat complicated idea on how this could be mitigated on a going forward basis by treating the increased water right the city received when the canals were piped (new water rights were created because of the reduced lose to evaporation) as an asset.

  • There was also some discussion on employee benefits and wages (the other topic that had a little passion) but in the end everyone agreed that we just didn’t have enough information to make any decision on this. Tim did ask for comparative wage information (both public and private) but no date was set for this action item. The city is asking for a 3% wage employee increase, which I believe will pass this year.

  • At the next council meeting a resolution to rescind the dedicated library tax contingent upon the general fund property tax being increased in like amount will be presented and voted on. The exact language has not been drafted. As mentioned numerous times I believe that the funds to run the library should come out of the general fund on the principle that the library budget should be on the same footing as all other departments (parks, events, public safety …) and it will help the city more efficiently use tax revenues. For the last 4 years the library has run a $10K to 26K surplus. Note, in 2011 $43K was also transferred into a reserve fund (this may have represented an aggregate surplus from previous years). Rather than be able to use these surpluses for a high priority items such as roads these funds had to, by law, remain in the library account. Also, if we are ever in a situation where we need to reduce costs the library will be the only department whose funds cannot be reduced.


  1. May 16, 2014 Letter from Ken Watson, Ivory Homes, to City Council, Mayor and Staff regarding the claim of some residents that a fence was required to be built on the S. side of 11800 N as part of Dry Creek Phase 3.


  1. Rod, on government giving to charities, there is a story you might be familiar with that is the best example of how to handle this. It's when Davy Crockett was serving in congress and they voted to give money to fire victims. Crockett then went to his home district to campaign for re-election and a farmer who voted for him the first time, told him he wouldn't vote for him again because he didn't understand the constitution. I believe the same principle applies at all levels of government. Here's the story.

    1. The Davy Crockett story is a great one Oak. Thanks for sharing!


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