Waste Collection fee to increase over 30%. LPD partners with new software company, Banjo.

The Lehi City Council met Tuesday, December 3 for a work session in Council Chambers with all members present. The session included varying topics from a new police department software to an increase in waste collection fees for residents.

Lehi Police Department partners with new software company

The first presentation was regarding new software to help the Lehi Police Department. Lehi City Police Chief, Darren Paul introduced the company as Banjo Software. Banjo’s mission statement as presented by Brian Smith, Government Affairs Director for Banjo is to, “Save lives and reduce human suffering by using ethical artificial intelligence to deliver live, validated information so people can make the best decision, faster.” Smith explained that Banjo collects a mix of public and private data through numerous sources like public transportation maps, CCTV locations, traffic cameras and social media postings, then consolidates usable data in one easy-to-use map system for law enforcement to identify trouble areas or events.

Smith also provided the Council with a real-life example surrounding the 2017 Las Vegas shooting event. During the Las Vegas event, Banjo’s system identified a crisis on The Strip within seconds. The Banjo software was triggered by several social media postings that recognized key words like “gun” and “shooting” that weren’t typical for this area. The system confirmed the situation when a traffic camera noted a mass amount of atypical movement–hundreds of people running across the street. Smith announced that Lehi City will be offered the software at no cost, “We’ve got funding from the state, to move this forward.” The City will formally approve the contract with Banjo at a future meeting.

Baseball Bond coming back?

The largest portion of the Work Session involved discussion on the status surrounding the futures of Mellor Rhodes Park and Peck Park. There has been recent controversy surrounding Peck Park and the desire of some for a baseball complex on the site, while others prefer a potential baseball complex at Mellor Rhodes Park. Mayor Mark Johnson invited Mark Vlasic from Landmark Design and Ryan Hales from Hales Engineering to update the Council on current park needs and traffic impact at the proposed sites.

Vlasic and Hales were involved in the creation of Lehi’s current Parks Master Plan that was adopted in 2015. Mayor Johnson introduced the speakers, “We are living in a dynamic society right now, locally, we have a lot of growth going on with a lot of changes occurring, in regards to transportation, population and needs for park facilities.” Vlasic was first to present his findings regarding current park needs and the correlation with the 2015 Master Plan. “As a community, you are very short on sports fields of all types, but over-provided on playgrounds” said Vlasic, who attributed that to the increasing age of Lehi’s children who are growing older. Vlasic continued by reiterating the current plan’s projected locations by saying “Survey results show that residents want a sports park at Mellor Rhodes and more of a leisure park at Peck Park.” He concluded by saying “Mellor Rhodes as the preferred location for a baseball complex still holds true today, if anything, I think it’s stronger today with the addition of the facilities in Saratoga Springs.”

Hales was next to present his findings involving traffic. The report showed that adding a baseball complex to Peck Park would bring the traffic levels over acceptable standards but that the Mellor Rhodes location didn’t share the same projected issues. “When we look at the traffic volumes at Mellor Rhodes Park, we find that each of the roads will continue to function at an adequate level of service,” said Hales. Hales also suggested that citywide traffic would benefit from the Mellor Rhodes location because of tournaments held in conjunction with Saratoga Springs, as drivers would have less distance to travel. Mayor Johnson interjected that hosting tournaments is crucial to the success of any new baseball facilities, saying “If we don’t have super league [baseball] tournaments, to sustain the maintenance and pay-off the construction of these facilities, it is a very high cost to the taxpayers of Lehi City.” Johnson also acknowledged that a bond is most likely on the horizon, “We may look at some bonds, not only for the baseball fields, but separate ones for some leisure facilities as well.” Councilman Chris Condie also mentioned the possibility of raising revenue through a property tax adjustment, “I would like to see if there is a blended option between a property tax rate adjustment and bonds as well, not just one way or the other. I think we need to get going,” said Condie. Councilman Mike Southwick also expressed support, “I think we need to move forward, we’ve been talking about this for years and it’s not getting any better, the City is getting bigger and we need to do something.”

The City has approximately $750,000 allocated in the current budget for design and construction start of a future baseball complex. At the conclusion of the work session, Mayor Johnson requested the Council go into a closed executive session to discuss the negotiations surrounding a substantial land acquisition for a future leisure park. Johnson noted that an announcement should be coming soon.

Waste collection fee to increase over 30%

Dean Lundell, Lehi City Finance Director, announced a 30% waste rate increase to the Council, as a result of the contract renewal with Waste Management. Lehi residents currently pay $10.50 for waste collection which includes one garbage can and one recycling can. The new rate will be increased to $13.68 starting in January, 2020.

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