Monday, July 13, 2015
Joplin CIty Manager's update to council provided
Good afternoon, everyone. As always, thank you for your time and attention to this report; I hope you find it informative.
On Wednesday the Infrastructure Team and I met with our engineering consultants to discuss the next steps on putting together the projects utilizing the $58+ million dollars that you approved for infrastructure work within the recovery area. We have asked for their list of recommended projects by July 20th so staff can review/rank them, and prepare the amended HUD Action Plan for your consideration and approval at our regular meeting in August.
Yesterday I met with Major Douglas Stearns, who will be heading up our local Salvation Army operation, to familiarize him with some of the activities going on around the city, and to hear what his organization is up to.
Following up on an item that was discussed at this year’s JACC board retreat, yesterday afternoon I attended a meeting at the chamber offices with representatives from the business and nonprofit communities, Joplin Schools, and MSSU to have a conversation about what we can do as a community to help strengthen the role and impact of our nonprofits in the area. I will serve on the steering committee as a resource towards this effort.
Earlier this morning I met with a local business owner and with Callie Hudson to discuss the use of Memorial Hall as one of several downtown venues to host a music festival in August.
Later in the morning I attended the Owens Corning announcement along with staff and members of council. The event was well-attended by both elected officials and local business representatives, and the governor was there as well.
Project Cannonball is one of the projects that was slated for use of CDBG-DR funds, so as those details get finalized, you can look for a sub-recipient agreement to be brought to you in the future.
Finally, this afternoon I met with representatives of Schneider Electric, who are interested in performing an energy audit of our facilities to determine if there is an opportunity to realize some cost savings if we move towards more energy-efficient programs and equipment. The audit itself would be performed at no cost to the city other than about 10 hours of staff time compiling past utility bills, accompanying their staff on a tour of our facilities, etc. I will work with staff on the schedule, and once the company completes the report I will pass it along to you for your review.
We’ve received some calls from members of council this week about the progress, or lack thereof, of having some of our businesses in the Crossroads Industrial Park be annexed into the city. I’ve asked Director Bolander to work with Rob O’Brian to circle back with the businesses in question.
In response to neighbors’ concerns, we have placed permanent “No Parking” signs at the following locations around the stadium:
-High Avenue from Broadway to 4th, on both sides of the street
2 nd Street, from School Ave. to Michigan, and from Comingo to McKee, on the south side of the street
-Jasper Street, from School to High, both sides of the street o Comingo, from 4th to 3rd, on the east side of the street
We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary to ensure that adequate police and fire protection can service the area in the case of an emergency.
Earlier this week I asked IT Director Mark Morris to run a report showing the number of viewers who have watched our council meetings online. Going back to the start of the fiscal year, we’ve had 528 unique visitors to our streaming video page (full disclosure, I’m one of them).
Annually, we pay $20,520 for the service provided by Granicus, or about $39 per visitor. I am having some trouble justifying the expense when the amount of traffic we get on social media and our website is much higher. I have asked staff to explore other options to capture/record our meetings and make them available online at no cost to the city, and possibly reallocate those funds to provide additional website/social media support. But as we work through those details, I wanted to share at least a nugget of what we look at when we go through our annual budget process.
We have had 19 individuals sign up so far for our inaugural Citizens Academy that will start on September 3rd, and I have been told that we have received some hard copy applications as well.
This week, AtCM Brian Kelly has been working on a grant application to receive $50,000 from the Small Business Administration to make it easier for small businesses to apply and receive a business license.
In an effort to continue to find ways to make our operations more efficient, this grant could help in a number of ways that we are eager to explore if awarded the grant. There is no cost-share component of the grant, but if awarded, we would need to commit to having a streamlined website and other tools available within a year of the award. Grant recipients are expected to be announced in August.
From PW: o The heavy rainfall events have taxed our sanitary sewer system. We’ve had numerous sanitary sewer overflows (SSO’s) and the crews are doing what they can to mitigate the problems and cleanup afterwards.
More of the DED projects are getting to the substantial completion stage – again, the rain has not helped in keeping these projects on schedule either.
The Street Maintenance division has made progress in making the ride on Main Street better – we have not yet tackled the intersections or the south bound lanes – the intersections will most likely be done at night to minimize the conflicts with traffic flow – still working through how we will ultimately make these “band-aid” type repairs in the intersections.
-20th is now closed for the grade separation project to get fully underway with the associated calls from citizens that come with closing down a major street. We’ll be monitoring the traffic patterns in the area and determining what if any additional traffic controls need to be installed.
In the Pipeline
Next week I will be in budget meetings with departments for most of the day beginning on Wednesday and carrying through until Friday.
I will be attending the school board meeting on July 28th along with Director Bolander, Deloitte, and possibly a state CDBG representative to field questions and provide information to the board about the early childhood center project.
As you are aware, the project was included in a previous action plan amendment, but before we proceed with entering into a sub-recipient agreement and signing an MOU between interested parties, we want to make sure that the school district is still in support of the project.
So I have asked if the board would be willing to take a yes/no vote at the conclusion of their meeting in order to give us the direction we need to continue the process to bring it to you for consideration and approval.
To date, about $80,000 has been spent working with the district on the endeavor, which can be charged to the project itself if the school board and the city council both decide to proceed; if either party chooses not to move forward, those expenses will have to come out of our (limited) CDBG-DR admin budget. If you have any questions or comments about the information provided to you in this week’s report, please let me know.