Monday, December 23, 2019

2019 Highland Living Magazine Mayor’s Messages

Highland Living Masthead

The following are my messages in the Highland Living magazine for 2019. Occasionally the editors shortened my message or revised it slightly. What I’ve included below is the message that was originally submitted. Most Highland residents now receive the publication at no charge. We were able to get the parent company to add over 500 additional households to the original delivery list which did not include a significant number of households.

January 2019 Highland Living Magazine

The Power of Positive ThinkingIn the foreword of the 2008 edition of the Power of Positive Thinking, Pastor Robert Schuller shares a story from 1957 when he introduced its author, Norman Vincent Peale, a guest Speaker to his congregation.

It was time to introduce our guest. Before I knew what I was saying, I heard the following words come out of my mouth. “We have with us today the greatest positive thinker who has ever lived. His words have been heard and read by millions of people all over the world. He has changed more lives than can be counted. The greatest positive thinker who ever lived is here—with us—today!. In person! His name is … Jesus Christ! and here to tell us all about him is Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.”

2019 Highland City Newsletter Mayor’s Messages

Highland Newsletter Masthead

Below are my city newsletter messages from 2019. Let me know if there are items you’d like me to cover in 2020 and if you have any suggestions for other content in our monthly newsletter. You can find city newsletters on our website by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Highland Trails–Eagle Project Improves Trails In N. Canterbury

One of the strengths of our community is unselfishness and service. For example, earlier this year one of our youth, Jonathan Daniels, organized a trail maintenance Eagle project on 1 mile of trail in the Canterbury North neighborhood (this represents about 6% of  the city trails in Highland).

N Canterbury Trail

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Highland City Trail Use–Freedom Elementary

Here is the latest data from the trail use survey and two trail counts that were run in the area. We’ve just started using a trail counter to measure trail use and so have limited data to compare. To get daily trail use estimates from the survey for households that said they used the trail:

  • 1 or more times a week we assumed they used the trails 2.5 times per week
  • 1 or more times a month we assumed they used the trails 2 times per month
  • 1 more more times a year we assumed they used the trails 4 times per year.

Highland City Trails - Freedom Elementary

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Highland City 2019 General Election Result Summary

Highland City Council 2019 General ResultsA big thank you to those who took the time and made the effort to run for city council. We all benefitted from your contributions. Congratulations to Brittney Bills, Kim Rodela, and Tim Ball who will be sworn in on Tuesday January 7th, 2020.

Below are charts summarizing the results for the city plus a chart showing the turnout for cities in Utah County. Our turnout (35%)was slightly above the average for the county (33.8%). Congratulations to the Highland 7th precinct for having the best turnout (44.3%). the 6th (40.5%) and 2nd (37.6%) precincts were  2nd and 3rd.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Crime in Highland, Utah, and the US 2009-2018

Police LightsBelow you will find charts and graphs that show what type of specific types crimes were committed in Highland and Alpine over a 10-year period of time (2009-2018) and how we ranked within the state and nation over that time period. All data came from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting system.

I used a report published in 2010 entitled “The Cost of Crime to Society: New Crime-Specific Estimates for Policy and Program Evaluation” to attach a value to the specific types of crime reported by the FBI. This creates a total cost of crime to a community. At the end of this post are tables from the report that show the costs of  different type of crimes and what these costs were based on.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

How Safe Are We In Highland?

BurglarAccording to the recently released FBI Crime Statistics for 2018 Highland and Alpine are the second safest cities in Utah. There are multiple ways to compare crime rates. I chose the four categories listed below to compare Highland with cities in the state and across the nation. We ranked second in all categories except for property crimes where we were first.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Traffic Count and Speed Analysis for Canal Blvd at 5625 West

2019-09-26 Canal Blvd and 5625 W

We collected traffic data and speed information on Canal Blvd from Sept 10th through Sept 26th 2019. The primary purpose of this data collection was to measure the impact on Canal Blvd due to the closure of 9600 N at Alpine Hwy. The short story is that the closure added between 400 and 500 trips per day to the current 1,000 trips a day. Note, Canal Blvd is a designed collector road that can readily accommodate`4,000 to 5,000 trips a day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Evaluating Highland City Council Candidates: Tips and Videos

2019 Election ResultsBallots will be arriving in your mailbox shortly. I thought I would make it easy to watch videos of the candidates to help in your decision making. Let me also share with you a couple of thoughts on selecting candidates.

One of the attributes I value most in council members is civility. In my view in order to be an effective member of council you need to be able to work with the other council members, staff, and residents to move the ball on a variety of issues. Everyone brings different perspectives to the table. The ability to share these in a civil manner is an essential part of developing good public policy. There is no member of council that I have served with that I have agreed with 100% of the time. On the other hand, every member of council whom I served with has contributed a unique idea or thought that helped create better policy.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Highland Traffic and Speed Count Summary


Traffic in Highland is a concern and will continue to be as the city finishes build out. Our population is approaching 20,000. At build out it looks like we may reach 25,000. In an effort to provide accurate traffic information to residents I have shared information about traffic counts taken at different locations over the last two years. This post compares the results of those counts.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Traffic Count and Speed Analysis for 10400 N at 5750 W

2019-09-05 10400 N and 5750 W

We collected traffic data and speed information on 10400 N from August 21st through September 5th 2019 at 5750 W (see red markers above).

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Traffic Count and Speed Analysis for 6000 W at 9760 N

2019-09-04 6000 W and 9770 N

We collected traffic data and speed information on 6000 W from August 21st through September 4th 2019 at 9760 N (see red markers above).

Friday, August 30, 2019

Highland City 2019 Primary Election Summary

2019 Election ResultsI first want to thank all those who took the time and made the effort to run for city council. Running for office requires a lot of work. While not everyone who run gets to serve in office, all candidates meet new people, learn more about how the city operates, and gain a better understanding of the community they live in. In my book all candidates were winners! Congratulations to those who are continuing (Brittney, Kim, Tim, Doug, Ken, and Wayne). They now have the opportunity to meet more people and learn more about the city. Good luck to all.

Below are a few charts of the election results for the city and a chart showing the turnout for cities in the county. Congratulations to the Highland 2nd precinct for having the best turnout (29.8%). Highland 7th (29.4%) and 5th (28.9%) were a close 2nd and 3rd.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Traffic Count and Speed Analysis for 9600 N at 5900 W

2019-07-31 9600 N and 5900

We collected traffic data and speed information on 9600 N from July 16th through July 30th 2019 at 5900 N (see red markers above).

Friday, July 19, 2019

Highland Resolution On Protecting All Human Life

A culture obsessed with technology will come to value personal convenience above almost all else, and ours does. That has consequences we will explore. Among those consequences, however, is impatience with anything that interferes with personal convenience. Religion, morality, and law do that … .” Bork, Robert H., Slouching Towards Gomorrah, HarperCollins, 1996, pp 8-9

As Judge Bork observed, over 20 years ago, we have a culture the puts a high value on convenience. Life is not always convenient. My wife and I volunteer at the Utah State Developmental Center (USDC). Each week we have the opportunity to work with youth and adults who come their to serve those who are less physically and mentally able. Is this convenient? No. The community at large spends about 19,000 hours a year in service at the USDC. Is that convenient? No. However, as I watch the youth (and adults) who come and serve I can see eyes being opened and hearts changed. Youth and adults are more accepting of those that are different and less likely to bully others as a result of spending time with residents of the USDC. They have a renewed appreciation for their blessings and are motivated by the resident’s efforts to progress and the kindness they show each other. I cannot find a way to put a true value on that service or the influence for good that the residents have on all of us.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

2019 Highland City Survey

2019 Survey Staff

First of all I want to thank those who took the time to complete the 2019 survey, especially those that took the time to add comments. We had 1,106 respondents, 22 more than last year. 700 respondents provided a total of 1,370 comments on. I enjoyed reading them and replied to over 1,000. I literally laughed out loud for several minutes after reading one.  I will buy a Roxberry Smoothie for the first person who identifies it – city staff and elected officials are ineligible (

The top four issues in terms of comments were:

Monday, July 1, 2019

Evaluating City Council Candidates

Scales of Justice

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” -- John Quincy Adams

In Highland there are three open city council seats this year. The nine candidates that are vying for your vote are asking for the privilege to spend ten or more hours a week for four years making decisions that affect us now and years into the future.

The issues they deal with will range from approving changes in user fees for parks to budgetary expenses totaling $18M, from zoning changes to park amenities, and from road maintenance to how to deal with legal issues.

Let me offer a few thoughts on what principles can be applied in selecting candidates for city council:

Friday, June 21, 2019

Connecting Canal Blvd and Madison Avenue

2019-06-21 Canal Blvd and Madison AveA number of residents have expressed concern that Canal Blvd will be extended to 6800 W via Madison Avenue once the Reinhart property is developed (see picture above). Below is a copy of an email I sent to the residents who emailed on this issue on Thursday June 20th. Note, I did fix spelling and grammar error that to my chagrin were in the email and made a couple of changes to improve clarity.

*** Update 6 July 2019 ***

At the end off the post I’ve listed a number of misconceptions that I’ve heard or read relative to this issue.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Traffic Count and Speed Analysis for Canal Blvd at 5700 West

2019-06 Canal Blvd and 5700

We collected traffic data and speed information on Canal Blvd from May 28th through Jun 11th 2019. Westbound data was collected at ~5730 W and eastbound data was collected at ~5670 W (see map above).

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Surprising 10-Year Highland City Budget Review

Dollar SignsSince the city is asking for a revenue increase to fund a significant jump in public safety spending I thought it would be good to share a historical overview of the city’s general fund revenue and expenses. When I included population growth and factored in inflation I was surprised at what I found.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Highland Utility Rates 2018-2019

2019-05-15 Utility Rate Comparison DetailI am occasionally asked why our utility rates are higher than those in the surrounding communities? Comparing our utility rates with neighboring cities (Alpine, American Fork, Cedar Hills, Lindon, & Pleasant Grove)  was an interesting exercise. I used the average Highland lot size and water usage to calculate what we would pay using another city’s utility rates.

The results were somewhat surprising. Even including our road fee we are still $14.17(10%) under the average total bill. Lehi was the lowest at $106.73 and American Fork was the highest at $181.87. We sit at $127.47. Note, in the comparison I did not include the Open Space fee in the “Other” category which 26.5% of Highland households pay. Nor did I include PUD/HOA fees which a number of Highland subdivisions pay.

Here are other interesting tidbits:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Traffic Count and Speed Analysis for Canal Blvd at 5800 West

2019-03-20 Canal Blvd and 5800 W

When I ran for office in 2017 I spoke with a resident who lived on Canal Blvd and had concerns about speed. I committed to asking staff to do a traffic count and speed analysis. Staff did and I provided the summary  information they gave me to the resident. Residents are again expressing concern about traffic issues and potential traffic issues on Canal Blvd with the impending expansion of Canal Blvd to the East (the East-West connector) so I thought I would share the traffic information we collected in a more useful form. Note, I’ve probably spent over 20 hours putting this information together.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Highland City: 2018 in Review

2019-02-20 progress2018 was a busy year for staff and elected officials. We made a lot of progress in multiple areas. I’ve reviewed what transpired and highlighted those items that I believe were the most impactful and/or newsworthy. I’ve organized these by general categories. The last is “Highland in the News”. We received a lot of good coverage this year from local media and were even mentioned in a USA Today article.


  • Staff implemented a short report called the “City Council Brief.” These are published and shared on the city website and Facebook page within a few days of any council meeting. The brief contains a short descriptions of actions taken by the council and includes a link to a spreadsheet that shows all votes cast by each member of council since Jan 2018.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Highland City 2018 Road Projects Review

Road WorkDuring 2018 we executed the first year of our 7-year road rehabilitation and preservation plan. A few changes were made to the scheduled projects due to changing circumstances as shown below. Our big project for the year, 6000 W, was completed on time but ran overbudget ($200,000) when we discovered that the asphalt on the north end was 2 inches thinner than we realized and the road base adjacent to Highland Elementary School was deficient. In spite of this we finished the year $17.3K  over our $1.5M budget (1.2% ). Not bad!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Mayor Messages from 2018 Newsletters

Here are my newsletter messages for 2018. There was no mayor message in January or February newsletters.

March 2018

Get Involved

This month, I’m writing to encourage you to get involved in our wonderful community and participate in our annual Highland Fling. Our Civic Event Coordinator is looking for a number of volunteers for the committee including Parade Assistants, Parade Banner Carriers, a Vendor Chair, a Stage Entertainment Chair, a Baby Contest Chair, a Sponsor Coordinator/Assistant, a Family Adventure Race Assistant, a Play Day Rodeo Chair/Assistant, a Garbage Management Coordinator, a Graphic Designer, a Photographer, a Videographer, Swag Assemblers, Information Booth Assistant, a Kids Night – Cardboard Challenge Coordinator, and Event Assistants. Some of these are single day commitments and some require work from now until the Fling. Some would even make great Eagle Scout projects. If you could help in any of these positions, or would like to get involved in a different way, please contact Julie Tapusoa at  or 801-772-4507.