Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Lone Peak Fire District Selects a New Chief

2017-11-21 Reed ThompsonThe fire district board tonight approved a contract with Reed Thompson to be the new fire chief. Mr. Thompson was the unanimous pick of the board plus the fire chiefs of Lehi, American Fork, and Pleasant Grove, who were part of the selection committee. The local chiefs all said that we be hard pressed to find a better candidate no matter how long we looked.

Mr. Thompson comes to us from the S. Jordan fire department where he currently serves the deputy fire chief. He has an Master's of Public Administration from BYU, serves as the chair of the Utah State Urban Search & Rescue Advisory Board (SUSAR), and the vice president of the National State Urban Search and Rescue Executive Board, and He has over 20 years of fire department experience. He will start on or before December 29th.

For those who had or have concerns about the process used to hire Mr. Thompson, we started with national search and received 16 applications from across the nation. As soon as Mr. Thompson submitted an application, his father, Mayor Mark Thompson, resigned from the fire district board. A selection committee comprised of the city administrators from Alpine, Cedar Hills, and Highland, plus board chief Sheldon Wimmer (Mayor of Alpine), and Brian Gwilliam (acting Fire Chief) with some assistance from local fire chiefs selected 6 applications to interview. From these the top 3 were selected to be interviewed by members of the board, the 3 local fire chiefs, and members of the Lone Peak Fire District. One of the top 3 candidates dropped out before the final interviews. Reed Thompson was the unanimous pick of the board members, who participated in the interviews, the 3 local fire chiefs, and was unanimously approved by the fire district board. Note, I did not participate in the interviews due to a schedule conflict (my mother-in-laws funeral).

I am excited that we have a new chief, who has the full support of the board, and look forward to seeing the district move forward in a positive direction. Click here to view Reed Thompson's resume.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Issues Raised in 2017 Highland City General Election

Sound BitesSeveral issues were raised during the campaign that require more than sound bite responses. Here our what I think are the top four issues and my thoughts on them. Feel free to share your point of view.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mann for Mayor: Endorsements

logo-large_thumb4Highland residents from all across the political spectrum, including some who disagree with me on issues that are important to them, talk about why they support my run for Mayor. So why do they support my candidacy? The biggest reasons are transparency, sharing information, and a willingness to engage.

Renee Braddy

Renee Braddy and her husband Kevin are actively involved in the community. They have made a difference in education, local and county politics as well as simply serving their neighbors. Renee reviews their interactions with me and my efforts to communicate with the residents of Highland..

Friday, October 20, 2017

2017 City Candidate Debate Video

2017-10-12 Debate

On Oct 12, 2017, the city sponsored a debate between candidates for city office. The format of the meeting was that each candidate was given time for an opening statement. Then candidates were given between 30 and 90 seconds to respond to questions. Following the question period each candidate was given the opportunity to give a closing statement.

City council candidates (Chris Kemp, Dennis LeBaron, Kurt Ostler, and Scott Smith) went through the process first followed by mayoral candidates (Jessie Schoenfeld and me – Rod Mann).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

East-West Connector–What Can You Do Today?

Background

The East-West or Murdock Connector is a road which has been under discussion for about 40 years. When built, it will connect N. County Parkway (4800 W) with Alpine Hwy (5300 W) south of Lone Peak High School.

Friday, October 6, 2017

An Open Meeting Violation is Being Referred to the County Attorney’s Office According to Senator Dayton

Stop Corruption - smThe East-West connector and development of the land south of Lone Peak High School continues to be most interesting. Was the meeting Senator Dayton expressed concern (my 15th “Issues and Information” meeting held at city hall on 5-Oct-2017) a violation of the Open Meeting Act. Good question. Let’s start with Senator Dayton’s email:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Why Am I Supporting Rod Mann For Mayor?

logo largeHere are five Highland residents discussing why they support my run for Mayor. In the group are those who did not vote for me when I ran for city council, are members of different political parties, and disagree with me on issues. Some I have known for twelve years others a just a few. These were recorded during the primary. More will be coming.

City Council 5-Sep-2017: Dry Creek Park, Library Expansion

Sixty-three residents were in attendance most were there for the Dry Creek Lake or the Library Expansion presentations.

Presentations

  1. Dry Creek Park – Lorin Powell, Lehi City Engineer. Lorin gave a presentation (click here to open the presentation) on the current status of the Dry Creek Park plan. Before I do a brief overview of the presentation let me first go over some background info:
    2017-09-05 Dry Creek Google Map

Saturday, September 30, 2017

City Council 1-Aug-2017: Safety Enhancement 11800 and Highland Blvd, Preliminary Approval for Ruby Estate, Urban Deer Control Discussion

imageThirty residents and guests attended the council meeting. I don’t believe there was one single issue that brought most of the residents although I believe a number came to see the 11800 N  / Highland Blvd Intersection safety construction motion approved.

APPEARANCES

  • David Larsen, a junior cabinet member, from Lone Peak HS, proposed putting an image of the LPHS Logo in the intersection of N. County Blvd and Cedar Hills Drive. The council indicated that they would support the initiative but that N. County Blvd was a state road and UDOT would need to authorize the project.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

City Council 18-Jul-2017: Country French No Build Zone, Preliminary Plats for Dr. Larsen Dental Office and Oak Ridge, Financial Sustainability Study, R-1-30 Zone Application

Forty-two residents and guests attended the council meeting. Most were there because of the No Build setback question in Country French Estates. 

APPEARANCES

  • Anne Hansen: Expressed support for proposed fireworks ban and indicated she would support a complete ban in the future.

  • Neal Evans: Asked that item 9 (R-1-30 zone application) and 3 (Oak Ridge Preliminary Plan) be discussed together.  Request was denied as they were independent issues (i.e. the result of a vote on one has no bearing on the other).

Monday, September 4, 2017

City Council 20-Jun-2017: Final Plat approvals, Fireworks and Open Fire Restrictions

10 residents plus Scout Troop 1128 were in attendance.

APPEARANCES

  • None.

CONSENT

  1. MOTION: Approval of Meeting Minutes for the City Council Regular Session – June 6, 2017 Click here to view the minutes. Approved unanimously with minor changes.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lone Peak Fire District State Auditor's Report

Utah State Auditor LogoWe received the final report from the State Auditor’s office regarding the Lone Peak Fire District. There are a number of things that the district can improve on and I am thankful to the state auditors for putting together a  comprehensive list of items to work on.You can read the report below (click here to view the official pdf version of the report).

Here are links to stories in the media that cover the report:

Friday, August 4, 2017

Deciding Which Boxes To Check On Your Ballot

Mr Bean - Confused

I occasionally feel like Mr. Bean looks when it comes to deciding whose box to check on the ballot. Let me share some thoughts on what I believe is important based on having served nearly four years on the Highland City council.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Questions from Highland Residents

Questions-Sitting

I’ve knocked on nearly 10% of the doors in Highland, and talked with many of you at various events. Here are responses to three of the questions and comments I frequently hear:

Sunday, July 30, 2017

City Council 6-Jun-2017: Annexation, New Veterinary Office Permit, 2017-18 Budget Approval, and Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation Plan

2017-06-06 Gen Fund Rev vs Exp

Sixteen residents attended the meeting; three were candidates, the rest had items of concern on the agenda or were there for scouting. We were done in less than an hour – most likely a record for an annual budget meeting. We were able to get through the budget “quickly” because of the discussions that we had in prior council meetings/work sessions, staff’s thoroughness in preparation and the mayor who moved things along.

APPEARANCES

Monday, July 10, 2017

16-May-2017: Funding Road Rehabilitation

2017-05-17 Highland Road - All Segments

Fifteen residents attended the meeting. Not many considering the nature of the conversation, the Road Fee.

APPEARANCES

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Why is Rod Running for Mayor?

RunningRod_white - croppedSo why the heck I am running? Wasn’t four years as a member of the Highland City council enough? My council experience actually exceeded my expectations. Granted they were low, however I found I enjoyed learning, responding to questions and writing about city issues in my blog. I also found that if I didn’t get push back on positions I ended up being unsure of them. When challenged I listen and do more homework. I find that my convictions are strengthened by the process or I modify my position based on new information.

The council and staff has “moved the ball” forward during the last four years.  I want to be involved in continuing to make improvements on how we operate as a city.


Why I am running for mayor of Highland City.

When I ran for council I initially had to push myself out  the door to walk neighborhoods. But as time went on I found that I really enjoyed talking with Highland residents. This time I was excited to go “tracting” again and I am enjoying the opportunity to meet people like you.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me via phone, text or email. Below is a copy of the content of a flyer I am handing out when I go out and knock on your doors.



Banner Medium

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2-May-2017: Tentative Budget, Cemetery Fee updates, Political Signs

2017-05-02 Gen Fund Comparison 17 v 18 comparison
There were a limited number of residents present (7) at the meeting. Don’t know if that is good or bad :). The conversation with Rob Smith was interesting and informative. Thanks to ASD for being proactive and communicating with the city without any specific item in mind.

APPEARANCES

Sunday, May 28, 2017

18-Apr-17: Rezone of Property to the West of the new Car Wash

2017-04-18 11020 N 5500 W Parcel sm
Once again the most “popular” item on the agenda was a final vote on a rezone request for property located just to the west of the new car wash on Timpanogos Hwy from residential to professional office. This time only 22 residents attended the meeting (as opposed to 67 last time).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

21-Mar-2017: Rezone of Property at 11020 N 5500 W to Residential Professional, 2017 Resident Survey Results

2017-03-21 Reasons for Living in Highland

The hot topic for the night was a rezone request for property located just to the west of the new car wash on Timpanogos Hwy from residential to professional office. This and a related issue brought about 67 residents to share their views with the council. I was the swing vote twice.

Staff presented the results of the 2017 Resident Survey. It was interesting. I’ve included a link to the charts and graphs that staff put together as well as the raw data with summaries and additional charts.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Murdock Connector: An Analysis of the 2017 Traffic Study

Another milestone was reached last month when a road study was completed on impact of constructing an East-West Connector. Below is a brief summary of the report, my analysis of the information provided, and suggestions on how you can impact the decision going forward. According to the study (click here to see the report).

  • 80% of the traffic on a connector would be local traffic while 20% would be commuter.
  • While all of the proposed routes have a positive impact on traffic, the central option has the best overall long term impact.
  • All connector options would reduce traffic on both SR-92 and 700 N in American Fork.

2017-04-14 Connector Options

There are issues with each of the locations for a connector which were analyzed (see the map above).

Friday, April 7, 2017

14-Mar-2017: Joint Work Session with Planning Commission on R-1-30 Zone Use

R-1-30 and the Council a Brief Overview

Before I discuss the work session  I want to review the history of the lot sizes in Highland, then R-1-30 zone and its implementation.

Highland Lot Size Info

Lots sizes of developments approved since 2014. As a point of information the estimated density of all Open Space subdivisions (this includes park land and other open space) is ~1.6 lots/acre.

Zone Avg. Lot Size Median Lot Size Avg. Density
R-1-20 0.48 acres
20,835 sq. ft.
0.46 acres
20,167 sq. ft.
1.65 lots/acre
R-1-30 0.60 acres
25,941 sq. ft.
0.58 acres
25,132 sq. ft.
1.33 lots/acre

R-1-40

0.78 acres
34,491 sq. ft.
0.75 acres
32,756 sq. ft.
1.06 lots/acre

* All

0.47 acres
25,276 sq. ft.
0.58 acres
20,386 sq. ft.
 

* This lot size data was derived by using the lot sizes of all property using pressurized irrigation where the parcel was larger than 0.10 acres and smaller than 6 acres. The data represents ~95% of all property in Highland.

Timeline of R-1-30 Actions:

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Way of the Reformer – William George Jordan

“The Way of the Reformer” is one of my favorite essays by William George Jordan. In it he discusses the challenges faced by those who seek to make the world a better place. They are not always popular and on more than one occasion have given their lives for their cause. William Tyndale comes to mind. He  translated the Bible into English in the early 1500’s. His work so displeased the King and other prominent leaders that he ended up fleeing to Antwerp to continue his work. He was eventually captured, tried for heresy, and put to death. Below is a short video which summarizes William’s inspiring life work.

Jordan’s essay below is dedicated to those who, like Tyndale, labor to make the world a better place in the face of opposition.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

City Council 21-Feb-2017: Cemetery Fee Work Session, Staff Pay Grades, Public Info Plan for Roads, Water Conservation Plan

15 residents (9 scouts) were in attendance for the council meeting; none were at the cemetery work session. We again were able to accomplish a fair amount of work during the meetings Smile.

Cemetery Fee Work Session

2017-02-21 Cemetery Plot Price ComparisonThe cemetery work session was the 2nd one we’ve held to understand what we need to charge for cemetery plots so that we end up with a fund that will generate sufficient interest income to cover the cost of cemetery operations once all the plots are sold. Note, Tim Irwin brought this up as an issue we should work on last year.

Zion’s Bank was contracted to do an analysis of what what our options are. Matt Millis of Zion’s Bank reviewed a model which they developed to help us determine an answer to this question. We also needed to provide some guidance on three questions so that the analysis could proceed:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

City Council 7-Feb-2017: Wimbelton Trails, Library Report, Park Use Fees, Mid-Year Budget Adjustments, Highland Blvd & 11800 N Intersection Redesign

2017-02-07 Close to HomeWell over 50 residents attended the meeting.  Most were there for one of four items: the Library Strategic Plan Presentation, Wimbelton Trails, Roads, and the Highland Blvd / 11800 N Intersection.

Prior to the meeting we learned that the petition to dispose of the Wimbelton neighborhood option trails did not have sufficient signatures to meet the threshold required to have the council consider the request. A public hearing on the issue end up not being required and so the item was removed from the agenda.

My understanding is that  those who wish to dispose of the trails argue that they are not well maintained by the city and although they are used, usage is not necessarily by those in the neighborhood and thus pose a potential safety hazard. A secondary issue is that many of those living in Open Space developments feel that the open space fee they pay is too high or not well used.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

City Council 17-Jan-2017: Economic Development, Pressurized Irrigation, Park Use Policy and Fees

2017-01-17 Lone Peak LacrosseFour residents attended this meeting where we discussed economic development, pressurized irrigation and park usage fees. Those attending wanted  to share their views on the proposed park usage fees. The “final” proposal on park fees will be discussed and voted on at the next council meeting (Tuesday Feb 7). 

Fun Facts

The following charts on lots sizes in Highland was derived from PI billing data, a summary of which is also shown below. Since there are a few parcels of property in Highland that are not served by PI it is not entirely accurate but it does provide a good picture. Here a few interesting stats:

  • 56% of the lots in Highland are less than or equal to 0.50 acres
  • 77% of the lots in Highland are less than or equal to 0.75 acres
  • 92% of the lots in Highland are less than or equal to 1.00 acres
  • The average lot size in Highland is 0.6 acres while the median is 0.47 acres


Council Meeting AGENDA / MINUTES

Presentation

  1. Marlin Eldred, an economic development consultant and member of Lehi City staff, addressed the council regarding economic development issues. He pointed out that in Utah County the average city spends $1.23 in services for every $1.00 it received in property tax from residential property. For open land the spend is $0.82 for every $1.00 in property tax and for commercial/industrial it is $0.26 for $1.00 is services. We don’t know if those ratios apply to Highland.

    Based on his review of the city prior to the meeting he believed that Highland is 85% to 90% residential with two parcels of undeveloped commercial land left. He asked what our intentions were for the remaining undeveloped land. I pointed out that in a recent survey residents indicated that they chose to live in Highland because of the large residential lots that are prevalent.

    Mr. Eldred made the  comment that incentives are not necessarily needed to draw business’s but an awareness of what land is available for business in Highland is essential. Mr. Eldred said an economic development study by consultants could cost between $5,000 and $30,000, depending on what kind of output was desired.

    I pointed out that our property tax rate is significantly lower than American Fork and Lehi, both of which have a much larger business base. Mr. Eldred pointed out that while this is true home values in Highland are higher (American Fork: $242K, Highland $479K, Lehi: $350K according to Zillow).

    I thought Mr. Eldred had interesting information to share and at the conclusion of the discussion I concurred along with other council members that it would be worth looking into what we could get out of some additional economic development research and planning.

Action ITEMS

  1. MOTION: Pressurized Irrigation Utility Rate Allocation. Tabled unanimously. Click here to view the background information from the minutes. We discussed the issue that while it costs more to pump water to the higher elevation areas of Highland (generally speaking think north of 11800 and View Point) this cost is paid for by all residents and therefore those which a large amount of land may be picking up a disproportionate share of that cost. After a rather long discussion it became apparent that there was no desire to change the rates again. I did propose considering a rate change that would trim the costs of larger lots (larger than 1 or 2 acres) and leave the remainder of the rates untouched but again there wasn’t interest in making any changes so I moved to table the discussion.

    Ed Dennis asked if the reason we had not sold any of the excess city water shares was because we were pricing them too high. During the follow-on discussion it was noted that we can only sell these shares to Highland developments.

    One item came to light that was not previously on my radar screen. Each year we rent unused water shares from Highland residents that have excess shares. We do this as an insurance policy but in the last 10(?) years haven’t needed them to cover our water needs. If the rented shares come out of the American Fork canyon it is actually cheaper to use them than to turn on our pumps for irrigation water. Deer Creek shares (Provo) are more expensive because of transmission costs. Going forward it may make sense to continue to rent the AF Canyon shares but not the Deer Creek shares.

  2. ORDINANCE: Adoption of a Park Use Policy: Highland has not previously had a published field usage policy for all city parks nor provided a reservation system. Staff put together a proposed fee structure and set of policies which the council and citizens reviewed and commented on.  The president of the Lone Peak Football League share his frustration with ever increasing taxes, fees … and a concern that by charging a fee we would end up pricing out some families for participation in sports. Michelle Hammond of Lone Peak Lacrosse also expressed concerns about pricing youth of our sports by charging a fee. We discussed the option of service in lieu of fees, revising prioritizing of use to put residents higher in the priority list, adjusting the fee schedule … . In the end we unanimously voted to continue this item  to next meeting.  Click here to view the background information from the minutes.

MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL & STAFF COMMUNICATION ITEMS

  • Funding of the Road Reconstruction Master Plan. We decided to have Brian Braithwaite and myself meet with staff to discuss options for funding and discuss them at a future council meeting.
  • Ed Dennis shared minutes from last year’s council meeting where we had agreed to allocated $20,000 for economic development. This was not reflected in the current budget.

LINKS:

Friday, January 27, 2017

R-1-30 Rezone Referendum Update

On Thursday, January 26th  Highland received the county’s report on the referendum signatures. After reviewing the report our city recorder issued the final certification report which states the following: Of the 2,778 signatures submitted 2,404 were certified. This is 109 fewer signatures than the 2,513 which were required and there for the referendum will not be placed on the 2017 ballot.

2017-01-26 Referendum Chart

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

City Council 10-Jan-2017: Road Plan, Youth Council, R-1-30 Moratorium, Spring Road Projects,

If you support the construction of the Murdock Connector (an east-west road between Alpine Highway and North County Blvd) please indicate your support by signing an online petition (click here to sign). This petition will be shared with Utah State legislators as they will need pass a bill this year to allow the road to cross state owned property. Also, our new State Senator, Dan Hemmert, and State Representative, Mike Kennedy, both have short constituent surveys that include a question on this issue. Please let them know how you feel on this and other issues such as education, internet sales tax, medical marijuana …. Click on their respective pictures to complete their survey’s .

Dan Hemmert - 1 Mike Kennedy - 1
State Senator Dan Hemmert State Rep. Mike Kennedy

Now on the the meeting. It was a productive meeting with a good exchange of information. Two residents attended the Roads Work Session and over sixty were present for the Council Meeting. Most of the Council Meeting attendees were there to support the 2017 Highland City Youth Council members who were sworn in. It is great to see so much interest in local government.

Friday, January 6, 2017

City Council 6-Dec-2016: Cemetery Work Session, Murdock Connector Resolution, Open Space Maintenance Agreement

Sixteen residents and others attended the council meeting none were at the work session.

2016-12-06 Cemetery

Work Session: Cemetery perpetual Care fund

The Cemetery Fund currently has a balance of $10,000. Plot fees are presently being used to refund the city for the purchase of the cemetery land. The goal of a perpetual care fund would be to build up a balance that would generate enough interest to cover all or most of the cost of maintaining the cemetery. Matt Millis, Zion Bank, walked us through multiple scenarios for increasing the lot and burial fees in order to reach a fund balance that would be self-sustaining. We generally agreed to build a balance to that would cover some of the maintenance cost of the cemetery. The fees needed to be reviewed periodically. We felt that the city should pay some portion of the costs as the cemetery does fill a “park role” for some residents. The estimated percentage of “park”  was not fixed (10% to 15% was discussed). Staff will work with Mr. Millis to further refine the model and finalize initial fee recommendations. These would need to be approved at a future council meeting. Click here to review the presentation we were given.