Monday, September 14, 2015

Joplin city manager provides weekly update

(City Manager Sam Anselm provided the following weekly update to the Joplin City Council Friday.)

Good afternoon, everyone. Please see below for this week’s update.

Key Meetings

-Tuesday morning, during our weekly staff meeting we discussed several more audit findings and recommendations. My office is working on a draft policy for change orders, and we will be taking a fresh look at our cell phone reimbursement policy as well as our procurement policies, over the next few weeks.

-Wednesday morning, AtCM Kelly, Nathan Ervin (our intern for this semester), and I met with staff from the finance department to review the draft five-year CIP document that we have developed for planning purposes in future budget meetings.

-Later that afternoon, I met with Callie Hudson from Downtown Joplin Alliance. We discussed some Christmas-themed activities they are planning, as well as the downtown parking proposal I’ve submitted to you, and the possibility of allowing our arts community to get creative with a few of our crosswalks downtown. In response to your comments on the downtown parking issue, finance staff will be providing me with a summary of the financial impact of making downtown parking free, and I’ve also asked public works to consider a couple of possible locations for the crosswalks. More information to come on these efforts.

-Thursday morning, I had meetings with Fire Chief Furgerson and with Court Administrator Lamonte Ratcliff to discuss their departments’ CIP requests for the next five years.

-Later that morning, Neighborhood Services Supervisor Stephen Grindle and I met with representatives from DJA and College Heights Christian Church to discuss some new neighborhood initiatives and the details of coordinating a few neighborhood block parties around the city next month.

-Thursday afternoon, Director Pekarek and I attended a non-profit steering committee team meeting facilitated by Sheri Brainard with Side-by-Side Leadership, in preparation for focus team meetings that will begin later this month. The first three focus teams will be centered around health, poverty/homelessness, and human services.

-That evening, we held the second session of the Citizens Academy. PIO Onstot, IT Director Morris, Assistant HR Director Tamra Schaller, and Director Tuttle made presentations to discuss the roles of their departments in delivering service to our residents. Again, feedback from the participants was positive according to the evaluation sheets they turned in. Next week, we have invited the participants to attend one of our budget work sessions. Public Works will give their presentation the following week.


-I had a phone interview with Susan Redden earlier this week to discuss the city’s plans for the current library building once the new facility opens in 2017. I confirmed that per the terms of the grant agreement and the lease of the property, ownership of the current building will transfer to the city after the library vacates it, but the council will ultimately decide what happens to the building/property. I know of two groups who are potentially interested in the facility, and staff have presented other suggestions as well. At some point in the near future, and perhaps as early as next month, we need to discuss this as a group, either during one of our regular council meetings or perhaps at a future work session. Next week I will work on a report that summarizes the ideas staff has discussed, and we will seek your direction on how to proceed.

-The topic of our city’s vision and mission statements have come up recently, along with a discussion of whether they need to be updated. On the last page of this update I’ve included the text from a copy of the vision/mission statements that I found on our website; I received conflicting reports from staff as to whether this was the most current version of these statements, so if you know the history of past efforts and have some time to fill me in, I would love to visit with you. Otherwise, I may convene a small group to kick around a few ideas; if any of you are interested in participating in the effort, please let me know.

-Earlier today (Friday), our public works director emailed a draft of the new solid waste RFP for staff to review and provide feedback before soliciting proposals from interested firms.

-We are planning on relocating the employee exercise equipment from the Athletic Complex to the basement of City Hall, to make room for needed office space at the athletic complex and parks office. We solicited input from the HealthNuts committee and they were in favor of the change as well; once a date for the move has been confirmed I will let you know, as this will impact the ability to use the basement for larger group meetings.

-Finally, I wanted to provide an update on the lead remediation program funded by the EPA. We received a notice of award from the EPA that our final incremental funding payment of $500,000 was approved, and our current grant agreement has been extended until December of 2018 to continue providing lead remediation funding assistance for participants in J-HAP and other home-building efforts taking place in the recovery area. Our successful administration of the program through the efforts of staff in public works and health should be noted, with particular thanks to Leslie Heitkamp, our construction inspector who oversees the day-to-day administration of the program.

In the Pipeline

-During our regular council meeting on October 5th, Segal will be here to review the recommended health insurance rates for calendar year 2016.

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