Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Joplin city manager provides weekly update
Good afternoon, everyone. Please see below for this week’s update.
-Monday and Tuesday were spent meeting with departments to go over their budgets for FY 2016-17. Staff is finalizing the draft budget document for your review, as well as a list of capital items that were cut during the budget process, personnel adjustments, etc. I will send out a more detailed budget memo when the draft budget is ready for distribution, but per Councilman Stinnett’s request, we will be happy to accommodate council’s request for additional budget meetings.
-On Thursday, I met with Head Start representatives from Economic Security Corporation to discuss an early childhood grant they are applying for. They are seeking support from several organizations, and wanted to find out whether the city had any facilities that could be used as a center to leverage the grant application. Staff has begun exploring various options, but no commitments have been made to this point. The agency did ask for a letter of support for the grant application, and they provided me with some information that I will get to you. But we do know there is a need for more infant/toddler care in our community, as highlighted through the discussions with the school district on their early childhood center.
-Later that afternoon, Director Bolander and I met with a developer who is interested in applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits to build additional multi-family housing in Joplin. To date, we know of three developers who will be applying for these tax credits through the state, and they have all requested a letter of support or resolution from the city that supports their applications. But, for the benefit of those who are new to council, we no longer provide letters of support for these projects. However, we do provide letters of acknowledgement that their projects fit within our comprehensive plan, zoning regulations, etc., which is all the state requires from communities where these projects take place. From what I understand, the process of providing resolutions or letters of support got fairly political in years past, so it was decided by a past council that we would no longer provide them, which is a decision I support, but if you have any questions about this, or would to explore the idea of going back to the old way, staff can certainly be prepared to have that discussion.
-During recent council meetings, questions have come up regarding the Qualifications Based Selection process used to select architects, engineers, and other professional services for city-funded projects. Director Heatherly is working on a memo to provide you more information about this process, and I will forward it to you when it becomes available.
-Earlier this week I spoke with Mayor Seibert about having a regularly-scheduled work session each month to discuss upcoming projects, staff items, and any items or questions you may have. If you are in favor of this idea, please let me know, but as we head into budget meeting season, I think a regularly-scheduled meeting to discuss other topics may be beneficial.
-I’d like to congratulate the sewer maintenance, wastewater treatment plant, sign shop and garage crews, who have all gone 112 days without an accident, while our street maintenance crew has gone 72 days without an accident. I’d like to commend the employees in each of these departments not just for the work they do, but for doing it in a safe manner. Our risk management division has been placing a greater emphasis on employee safety over the past year or more, and we’re seeing the positive results of that endeavor.
-Finally, as you are aware, today was Assistant to the City Manager Brian Kelly’s last day with the city. I have put a deadline of next Friday to accept applications for his replacement, but we have received several applications for the position, and many of them look promising. Brian’s departure may result in a slight delay on implementing the next phase of priority-based budgeting, but I’ll be working next week with the Center for Priority Based Budgeting to keep things moving