Monday, August 31, 2015
Joplin city manager provides weekly update
Good afternoon, everyone. Please see below for this week’s update.
-On Monday, staff from HR, Parks and Recreation, and I met to discuss some possible position changes within parks and recreation due to a restructuring of the department. We will have a meeting with finance staff next week to review the financial impact of these changes, but it is my hope to have this discussion with you during our budget work sessions.
-Later that morning I attended the monthly meeting of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. Following up on our meeting from Monday night, if you have not submitted your suggestions for items to include with the new contract to either City Attorney Edwards or myself, please do so at your earliest convenience.
-Monday afternoon, AtCM Kelly and I met with finance staff to review the evaluation of user fees and charges report compiled by finance in conjunction with other departments. There are a few fee requests that we need to do additional research on, but I anticipate the bulk of the fees will be ready for your review and discussion during our budget work sessions.
-On Tuesday, department heads and I met to discuss the audit findings. Specifically, we made it through the first three findings of the audit report. The website has been updated to reflect that 67.8% of insurance proceeds have been collected under the duplication of benefits provision (Recommendation 3.3). Pertaining to Recommendation 3.4, we will be retraining staff on how to locate and secure the proper suspension and debarment paperwork. Finance will now be responsible for retaining the proper documentation related to this finding.
-Later that afternoon, AtCM Kelly and I met to review his progress on developing a five-year Capital Improvement Plan for use by council and staff in planning out the next several years of capital expenditures. Work continues on that project and our hope is to have a draft document ready for your review at the budget work sessions, even though no formal action will be required by you at this time.
-On Wednesday, the Infrastructure Team (staff from public works, planning, and Deloitte) met to review their progress on mapping out the use of the CDBG-DR funds for infrastructure work in the recovery area. Based on the dollars budgeted for Infrastructure Projects #1 and #2 (but not including the Main & 20th Street road projects), PW staff is recommending a mix of stormwater (18%), sanitary sewer (31%) and surface element (51%) repairs throughout all zones, but concentrated in the heart of the damage area based on condition assessments that took place over the past several months. Next week, the Infrastructure Team will be meeting with the engineering consultants to prepare next steps and a timeline for implementation. After those meetings take place, I will likely be asking Deloitte staff to give a presentation/update to the council and the public at a future council meeting.
-On Thursday morning I attended a meeting with several local residents who are interested in sharing more about all of the positive things going on in our community, in spite of what we read in the headlines or on Facebook. The impetus behind the meeting was a book called For the Love of Cities, by Peter Kageyama, whom you may recall was in Joplin in May of 2013 to talk to several residents about what we can do to show our love for the cities in which we live. The “I Am Joplin” mural on 6th and Main was the direct result of that visit. Discussions are still in the early stages, but as I learn more I’ll pass the information along.
-Later that afternoon, Director Tuttle, AtCM Kelly and I accompanied council member Colbert-Kean on a tour of the city with officials from the National League of Cities. We discussed our recovery efforts and the use of various state and federal resources to help us, economic development efforts, and other topics.
-Earlier this afternoon, representatives from several departments met with the Finance Committee to answer questions related to the fee study that the finance department has completed with the help of several departments. The committee voted to advance the study to the council for review, which will also occur during budget work sessions next month. I would like to commend staff at all levels for their efforts in bringing this information to you, with a particular word of thanks to Assistant Finance Director AJ Whistler, for his efforts in researching our costs, city comparables, and compiling the report for your review.
-To end the week, I met with Callie Hudson with the Downtown Joplin Alliance. They are moving their office to 515 S. Main next week, and she also informed me of an exciting restaurant start-up/incubator opportunity that will be coming to 1st and Main, in the former Cooper’s 66 restaurant. We discussed the downtown parking proposal more, and I’ll be gathering additional information next week to share with you. Thank you to those of you who have provided input thus far; I’ll provide a summary of everyone’s responses along with additional information/answers to some of the questions you’ve raised.
Earlier this week I asked our Neighborhood Services Supervisor, Stephen Grindle, to provide an update on some of the changes taking place within the division. I am excited about the change in direction that is taking place within the division, and I think it will have some positive impacts on our community as the vision becomes a reality.