(City Manager Sam Anselm provided the following update to the Joplin City Council.)
Good morning, everyone.
Please see below for this week’s update.
-On Tuesday morning, our CDBG-DR team met with staff from Joplin Schools to discuss the early childhood center project in preparation for that evening’s school board meeting. Andy Papen, the state’s CDBG program manager, also attended via phone to answer questions, provide information, etc.
-Later that morning, AtCM Brian Kelly and I had a conference call with the representatives from the Center for Priority-Based Budgeting to discuss next steps. They have a resource called the Financial Health Diagnostic Tool (more info here: http://fiscalhealthandwellness.blogspot.com/2013/07/data-visualization-for-localgovernment.html) that will be used to evaluate the overall fiscal health of our organization. Finance staff will be working on providing the CPBB with financial data from our General Fund to begin the process. I hope to have that information ready by the end of September or October in order to set the stage for council’s discussion of the new budget process.
-On Tuesday afternoon, Director Bolander, Mayor Seibert and I met with Rob O’Brian, David Glenn and a developer to discuss the developer’s interest in a project at 26th and Main.
-On Tuesday evening, Director Bolander, Chuck Banks from Deloitte, and I attended the school board’s work session to discuss the early childhood center project with members of the school board. Ultimately, the district voted to move forward with the project without the inclusion of the six-weeks to two-year old daycare component. They are also evaluating other potential locations for the program. The actions of the board will require the district to submit a new proposal for our DR staff and the state to evaluate in order to ensure the program continues to meet the grant requirements. The board has indicated they will decide on a location at their next board meeting in August.
-On Wednesday, HR/RM Director Allgood and I met with Chief Furgerson and members of the IAFF to discuss some of their concerns, mainly centered around pay rates, but we discussed other topics as well. Along those lines, this week AtCM Kelly and I have been continuing work on our pay plan by confirming the data and seeking additional information from cities included in the market survey to ensure they are comparable to our organization. It is my hope that I will have information to discuss with you during our budget work sessions in September.
-On Friday, AtCM Brian Kelly and I met with Callie Hudson from the Downtown Joplin Alliance and Scott Vorhees, a local attorney and longtime resident and downtown business owner, to discuss downtown issues. We discussed current and future plans for Memorial Hall, the upcoming Slide the City event, sidewalk issues, and better ways that the city can share information with residents on a number of topics. Miscellaneous
-Chief Furgerson has provided the following update on the Public Safety Training Center:
The tower construction is complete other than the interior fire props, which will be installed middle- to late-August. Construction of the grounds is moving along nicely and given good weather, should be done by the fall.
-Earlier this week, Director Heatherly met with representatives from the EPA and their consultants to review our MS4 program. They toured various public and private facilities during their visit, and will have a complete report to us after we provide them with some answers to a few follow-up questions.
-In other PW news, staff has developed a plan to address various “rideability” concerns that have been expressed by residents and the citizens who serve on our Capital Improvement Sales Tax committee. Elements of the plan will include a new repair standard for utility cuts made by private utility companies and contractors, existing manholes, utility valves, traffic signal pull boxes and other obstacles that cause “bumps in the road.” Another element of the plan being developed is a condition assessment of numerous railroad crossings around town. In particular, representatives from the Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad have been responsive in their willingness to work with us to address many of the smaller, low-volume/traffic crossings. Over the course of the next few years, the railroad agreed to pay for an improved crossing and flagging/signaling systems, while we have agreed to approach roadway work and traffic control on the nearby streets. We will likely begin along 10th Street and begin to chip away at the list over time. I would like to commend our PW staff for hearing these concerns and developing a plan to address them.
-At Councilman Glaze’s request, earlier this week I sent an invitation to US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to attend the opening of the new Crossroads Interchange at Prigmore/I-44. The project is scheduled to be completed on November 1st .
In the Pipeline
-Please mark your calendars for a special meeting on August 24th for a public hearing on setting the tax rate for next year. We are also planning on a discussion of the contract with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
-MSSU has been developing an economic impact study on the university and they would like to present the results of that study to members of the council after it is presented to their board. No firm date/time has been identified yet, but we may include a presentation at a future council meeting, possibly in September.