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The Crossroads Journal

Question and answer with Highland City candidates

By Mike Kieffer
The Crossroads Journal recetnly gave candidates for Highland City office the chance to address issues important to city residents. Sixteen questions were sent to each of the candidates in the municipal elections that The Crossroads Journal covers. These candidates were given the opportunity to answer questions on a wide range of topics including; roads, development, family life, open space, schools and why they are running for office. 

Participation in the survey was voluntary, not all candidates responded, and not all questions were answered by those that responded. Four of the sixteen questions were then randomly selected for each city to be published. The candidates did not know which questions were going to be selected for their city for publication. The candidates answers to each question are listed in random order following the questions.

Question: Do you feel the education system is adequate in the city? If so, what are we doing well, if not, what needs to be changed.

Jessie J. Schoenfeld - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"I believe our education system is adequate in our city."

Elisabeth Luntz - Candidate Highland City Council
"Utah has a teacher shortage and we have challenges funding K-12 education largely because Utah has consistently lowered property taxes and income taxes and failed to provide adequate incentives to teachers. Additionally, Utah charges the lowest effective tax rate on oil and gas produced on private and public lands in the Mountain West. I think we should evaluate if this taxing schedule is fair to Utah students and teachers and re-adjust rates accordingly."

Wayne Knoll Tanaka - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"Schools always need attention. Alpine School District is doing a good job but must continue to seek input from the community on a regular basis."

Christopher Kemp - Candidate Highland City Council
"I feel Highland has great schools but there is always need for improvement. Parental participation in their children's education and schools is the best way to gauge and increase the quality of our teachers and schools. I will always fight for better education opportunities for all of our children."

Kurt Ostler - Candidate Highland City Council
"I have had my four children educated through Alpine School District. I believe the opportunity and education that has been provided has been excellent. "

Question: What do you see as the biggest issue in your city, and what do you plan on doing to help solve the issue?

Kurt Ostler - Candidate Highland City Council
"Debt: It's City Council's responsibility to make sure the citizens money is being protected and used wisely. I will work at reducing the debt burden and expenses while also continuing to provide the city services residents want and need. From my strong financial business background I have noticed several area's in the city's expenses and budget where I know I can help in giving recommendation in cutting cost."

Jessie J. Schoenfeld - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"Currently, one major issue in our city is road improvement and maintenance. I will work with the city council to implement a program to bring the condition of our roads to a satisfactory level within a reasonable time frame without unduly burdening property owners."

Wayne Knoll Tanaka - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"The biggest issue is raising revenue to meet the needs of the community. I plan to look to innovative and creative means of raising revenue. Grants, energy and utility savings that can be put to other needed uses."

Sam Orton - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"I feel that the budget system and use of the tax payers dollars has been lacking in the last years, priorities are not what they should be. This may not be the BIGGEST issue, but most of the topics of discussion in Highland can be linked to this in some way. I want a fresh mind and a different view to get in and see what can be done. We have had minds that are in the same rut looking over the city. This can be good and bad, looking at it from a budget perspective, it isn't good."

Elisabeth Luntz - Candidate Highland City Council
"I think the biggest problem in our city is that we are carrying a lot of bond debt ($11,125,000.00) from past investments in pressurized irrigation, parks and buildings and our limited tax base makes it difficult to provide some of the opportunities many families would like, such as sports programs or recreational facilities. Trying to pay the bills, reduce taxes, minimize fees and avoid additional bonding is the challenge. Looking into partnerships with other cities, or at the county level, might be able to bring more, cost effective services to Highland families."

Christopher Kemp - Candidate Highland City Council
"Highland's potential biggest issue is the STLA trust land that is just south of Lone Peak High School. We need to make sure that it is developed in a way that does not hurt the community in terms of traffic, increased crime, etc. I have worked with the state before on land they have owned and know how they work and what can be done to get the best possible outcome for all parties."

Question: What are your views on the city's current plan for parks and recreation, and what are future goals for them?

Christopher Kemp - Candidate Highland City Council
"The parks and recreation we have in Highland is in need of a large central park that will be used by Highland residents. I would like to see a park similar to the new Creekside Park in Alpine. We need to start planning on a spot for this, if possible and start saving money for it. I am in favor of developers providing for some of these fees in return for possible concessions in density or other desired concessions."

Kurt Ostler - Candidate Highland City Council
"Highland Glen Park has turned into a premier park! We have a lot of parks in our city that are in our open space communities and we need to work to make sure the maintenance expense is equitable for all."

Wayne Knoll Tanaka - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"Maintain the parks while trying to find more uses for them. Maximize the their use as much as possible."

Jessie J. Schoenfeld - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"We need to spend more money on the maintenance of our parks and somehow find dollars to improve our recreation possibilities for us and our children."

Elisabeth Luntz - Candidate Highland City Council
"We have a relatively small tax base as we are cornered by Cedar Hills with Walmart and Lehi with Smiths. We are also a family community that would benefit from low cost recreational opportunities for our kids. Our outdoors are the greatest recreational facility there is, but for organized sports, we could look into partnerships with other cities or potentially at the county level."

Sam Orton - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"I am in great favor for parks and open places for citizens to get out and away from the digital distractions and play outside. Maybe my opinion is a little one-sided due to working on the parks for years, but getting people outside is very high on my list."

Question: What is the best program, that you know of in your city? How does that program make your city better, and how do you plan on making the program stronger?

Elisabeth Luntz - Candidate Highland City Council
"I think the arts and music programs and the youth council are great examples of modest municipal investment and high community return. Offering competitive, low cost options for arts, governmental stewardship, sciences and sports means savings for Highland families and investment in our community. I plan to continue current investments and look to cutting costs elsewhere in the budget as well as capturing new economic growth."

Sam Orton - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"I grew up loving the Highland fling. I think that is the greatest way to get everyone together and celebrate the city. I don't know of a way that it would need to be changed except allowing floats to throw candy in the parade! Currently that is not allowed and that is just ridiculous, you can't have a parade without candy being thrown at you."

Kurt Ostler - Candidate Highland City Council
"Many residence love the Highland Library. We currently have an excellent library director that is providing great programs for our citizens."

Christopher Kemp - Candidate Highland City Council
"The best program I know of in Highland is the Highland Youth City Council program. It gives the youth of our community the opportunity to serve others, earn service hours and learn valuable leadership skills. It also gets them involved in city issues and brings awareness of those issues to the next generation"

Jessie J. Schoenfeld - Candidate Highland City Mayor
"One of the great programs in our city is the Beautification Committee program. When the committee of volunteers gets together once a week in the summer months to clean, weed, plant, spray and prune, it complements our Parks and Recreation employees, and our city looks beautiful. "

"The library is a great asset. I will help direct and support the library's expansion. All the community based groups like: the Historical Society, Arts Council, Highland Foundation, to name a few, will have my support."
The community news source for Eagle Mountain Utah, Saratoga Springs Utah, Lehi Utah, American Fork Utah, Highland Utah, Alpine Utah, and The Cedar Valley, including Cedar Fort Utah and Fairfield Utah. Copyright 2017 The Crossroads Journal LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
 





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