(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.
-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
-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
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
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
-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.