Monday, October 10, 2016

Joplin city manager provides weekly update

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

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

Key Meetings

-On Tuesday, I met with public works staff to review information about the replacement of the Jackson Avenue bridge. We have some better cost estimates on two options, one of which would leave the existing low water bridge in place and build a bridge further to the east. Staff will begin the process of setting up some additional neighborhood meetings to get feedback from residents before we bring a recommendation to you for your consideration.

-On Wednesday, I met with Chamber President Rob O’Brian for our regular meeting on economic development issues. Work on the Owens Corning facility continues, and we discussed two other potential projects that aren’t quite ready for public discussion yet. Progress on the Advanced Technical Training Center continues as well. We discussed the possibility of meeting prior to the first council meeting in November to tour the facility. I’ll work on the details, but if you are interested in the tour, please let me know.


-It has been a while since I’ve given you an update on the Priority-Based Budgeting process. We experienced a slight delay the past couple of weeks, not just because of budget meetings, but we also provided the consultants with current fiscal year budget data to include as our baseline for program costs, etc. The non-personnel cost allocation sheets have been re-distributed to departments, and they are in the process of returning them to me. I am looking at the possibility of using our November work session to give everyone an update on this process as well as an overview of the system for our newest members of the council.

-With Hurricane Matthew in the news, our emergency management director, Keith Stammer, sent an email earlier today in response to several inquiries he has received about how local residents can help with relief efforts. I’m copying his email here, for your reference and for those in the public who read this update. It’s solid advice. “I have heard from a few people who want to contribute, in some way, to the relief effort currently going on due to Hurricane Matthew. May I offer a few words? This is by no means an authoritative nor definitive statement, but it is an attempt to clarify a few points. So….

1. Wait! The hurricane is currently ongoing and will continue to do so for a few more days. This type of disaster is not like a tornado, which appears quickly and is then gone. Rather it is a relatively slow moving and massive storm that will take its time bringing damage to people and property. Right now people are still evacuating, sheltering and experiencing the full impact of this storm.

2. Watch! As these communities begin to come out of hiding, most will begin to assess their needs, inventory their resources and then match the two as best they can. When they identify shortages they will usually post their needs via electronic means -so keep tabs on local and state websites for information on what is actually needed.

3. Wonder! Put yourself in their situation by recalling the May 22, 2011 tornado we experienced. Many brought LOTS of contributions to us, both monetary and physical. While we were able to put the money to work immediately, the physical items took time, effort and resources to collect, sort, store and distribute. Unfortunately, some of those items donated couldn’t be used as they did not meet our needs. So I would encourage everyone to carefully consider what may be given in the way of aid:

A. Money: This is always the fastest and most efficient way to meet needs, allowing the on-site and local agencies leeway to best determine how to help those in need. Contributions to national organizations (American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way and several others) can be made immediately – but understand that some organizations will not guarantee your funds will be spent exclusively on this hurricane. Be sure to check with them first if this a concern to you.

B. Other: Food/clothing/equipment/etc. Not every disaster is a total loss in which everyone loses everything. Needs vary across a region, to a greater or lesser degree. Again, consider waiting until the government, jurisdictions and organizations leading the relief efforts make known what they need. Then supply only what they ask for, in the quantity requested and delivered to the local specified.

-In case you missed the press release that went out earlier today, the city’s ISO rating has increased from a 3 to a 2, which is good news for home and business owners who have property insurance. A link to the full release can be found here, but we encourage home and business owners to contact their insurance representatives to see if this could help lower their premiums.

-Finally, I wanted to remind you that during heavy rain events, typically staff has to close road access to the low water bridges/areas on Jackson and on Murphy. Depending on when the weather event takes place and if crews are responding to other emergencies, there can be a delay between when the water recedes and when the gates are re-opened for vehicular traffic after debris has been cleared from the roadway. I’ve asked staff to explore other options to give better notice to residents who travel those areas, but while we research those solutions and related costs, I would ask you please relay to the residents you speak with that we try to open them as soon as we can, but only after it’s safe to do so.

 In the Pipeline

-Our website will soon be undergoing a renovation, so beginning next Tuesday, October 11th, staff will not be uploading much of any new content while CivicPlus does their work. We will continue to post road closures, agendas and minutes, etc., but we will rely more on the use of social media and email to provide updates during this time. Our hope is to have the new website back up and operational around the first part of November.

No comments: