Monday, November 02, 2015

Joplin City Manager provides weekly update

(Joplin City Manager Sam Anselm provided this update to the City Council last week.)

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

Key Meetings

-On Monday I attended the monthly JACC board of directors meeting at the Chamber offices. I updated the group on the recent adoption of next year’s budget, our ongoing construction projects around town, and briefly discussed the new priority-based budgeting process. One element of getting public engagement will include reaching out to business leaders and other interested groups to invite them to attend public meetings or participate in surveys, etc., as we develop and finalize the results we hope to achieve as an organization.

-On Tuesday I attended a meeting with the CTS Group, an energy services company, to explore ways to make our buildings more energy-efficient. We toured Memorial Hall and visited parts of City Hall so the company could look into ways to help us lower our energy costs. I will keep you posted about any updates and whether we explore the idea any further. They are currently reviewing our electric and gas utility bills for anomalies in the numbers that may point them in the direction of making recommendations.

-Later that afternoon, Director Garrie, Director Haase, and I met with Oscar and Gabe Suarez to discuss a new lease, pursuant to our discussion from Monday night. At our meeting on Monday we discussed the possibility of having a proposal to you by November 16th, but according to Oscar, it will likely take more than two weeks to get an audit done on their financials, and the current year isn’t even completed yet. As an alternative, we have proposed to have Director Haase and Councilman Stanley sit down with the team owners next week to review their financial information, in addition to possibly having a third party do so as well. We may need to call another meeting later in the month if November 16th won’t work.

-On Wednesday I sat down with representatives from Congressman Long’s office to talk about a few issues. We discussed the FEMA reimbursement process, e-Commerce legislation, and our TIGER Grant request for 2015. Regarding the TIGER Grant, we learned today that none of our projects were approved for this year, and there was only one project approved in the State of Missouri. We will apply again next year.

-Earlier today (Friday), I met with staff in my office to get an update on the progress of our policies and procedures. Draft policies regarding a purchasing card program and a revised travel policy have been sent to department heads for review and discussion over the next two weeks. We are also coming close to having a draft change order policy as called out in the state audit.

-Earlier this afternoon, I met with staff to develop a program inventory of the various services/programs we offer through the city manager’s office, as part of implementing the priority-based budgeting process. We identified at least 30 programs through our office alone that are offered internally in support of council or our employees, or external programs that we offer for the benefit of our residents.

-To close out the afternoon, AtCM Kelly and I met with the employee engagement group to discuss next steps for getting employees engaged. It was a very productive meeting and we generated a few ideas that we are going to roll out in the near future to allow employees to provide input on a new vision/mission statement for our organization, as well as revamping our Bright Idea program, which currently allows employees to submit ideas that improve morale/spirit, make things more efficient, or save time and money for the city.


-Attached is a list of updates from public works. In addition to those updates…

* We had a power loss at the Turkey Creek WWTP earlier this week. Empire was on site to assist and within a short time had us back up and running, but not before we had an unpermitted discharge into Turkey Creek. Steps are being taken to remediate the creek bed. A bird sacrificed his life to start cause this chain of events.

* The repair to the sinkhole/depression on 15th & Wisconsin has been completed, so the road will be fully opened tomorrow after the concrete has a chance to cure.

* Asphalt overlay and micro-surfacing crews are busy trying to complete their work before colder weather reaches the region. Future street surface maintenance work will be scheduled for earlier in the construction season in order to secure better bids and to avoid the fall weather conflicts.

In the Pipeline

-Human Resources staff will be scheduling a personnel board meeting to review proposed changes to the structure of our parks & recreation department, that would include new job descriptions and using untapped Parks/Stormwater Sales Tax dollars for personnel to fund these changes. The parks board has reviewed the changes and approved them, so the next step is taking them to the Personnel Board for approval to include these positions in the pay plan. The date for that meeting has not yet been set, but I wanted to put this on your radar, as it will be an item of discussion at a future council meeting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The budget process should contemplate a "zero based budget". In other words, look at ALL current spending; assume that nothing gets funded; then start over and decide which -- if any -- of the spending is NECESSARY; and then, how much is NEEDED.
There is too much of layering year after year of more money on projects and activities that are NICE but NOT NECESSARY. Those need to go.
And just because there is federal or state money available to offset some of the spend for certain activities doesnt make that a Have to Spend project. Better to say no; save the City spend; and live within our means, avoid tax increases, and even maybe find room for a tax reduction.

Will this happen? NO. No courage to do it.

It's been over 30 years since the City had a crisis and had to do something to cut spending.

Keep losing $200,000 a year on golf; now in the hole for $4 million ($2 million of it borrowed and costing interest to the City taxpayers); and other NICE expensive boondoggle projects ---- eventually you'll have to face the music of drastic cuts or higher taxes.