Monday, November 07, 2016
Joplin city manager provides weekly update
Good afternoon, everyone. Please see below for this week’s update.
-On Tuesday, Director Heatherly and I attended the annual Networking 101 event held on the campus of Missouri Southern, sponsored by the Young Professionals Network. The event gives students the opportunity to learn networking skills, and it gives us an opportunity to educate students about our organization.
-On Wednesday, Mayor Seibert and I attended the annual Tomorrow’s Leaders Today luncheon, to visit with area high school seniors and share with them about the leadership opportunities in local government and within our community.
-On Thursday, I met with Chamber President Rob O’Brian to get an update on economic development projects. He will be in attendance Monday to answer questions during the public hearing to discuss the Chapter 100 bonds for Project App.
-Attached to this week’s update is the monthly report from the Chamber of Commerce, detailing their activities for October. In related news, HS Baking should begin operations by the end of the month; construction continues on the Owens Corning facility, and the Advanced Training and Technical Center is nearing completion as well. Rob would like to invite council to walk through the facility before it opens, so we are tentatively looking at November 21st, prior to that evening’s council meeting. Once the details are firmed up, I will let you know.
-Also attached to this week’s update is the report from public works. Related to the 2016 and 2017 overlay projects, we have adjusted both programs accordingly:
*Due to utility and scheduling conflicts, we are removing 4th Street and a portion of 15th Street from the 2016 overlay program and will include those in 2017;
*We are taking the Maiden Lane segment from 10th to Perkins, as well as 26th Street from Maiden Lane to Pearl, out of the 2017 overlay program and including them in this year’s. The contractor has until November 19th to complete these segments.
-Work continues on updating our website. A production version of it is up and running, and staff members responsible for updating our website have been in training this week. We will probably “go live” with the website before it’s completely finished, primarily because we have begun using the new website already to create the agenda for Monday night’s meeting, and currently staff is having to update both the old and the new website with information; by cutting over to the new website sooner, while we continue to work out a few bugs, will save staff some time by having to only update one website.
-Effective December 1st, new FLSA overtime rules will go into effect, which require organizations to pay overtime (or allow compensatory time off) for employees who make under $913 per workweek. This new rule will affect approximately 30 employees who are currently classified as exempt, and could have an effect on the budget. I won’t know the impact until we are a few months into the new rule, but I have asked department heads to closely monitor the situation in their departments. Several states have challenged the new rule in court, but I don’t expect any ruling on the case prior to December 1st, so we are proceeding as if the rule change will become permanent.
-Yesterday, Director Pekarek received some information about the possibility of Jasper County’s participation in a voluntary Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Currently, Missouri is the only state in the country that does not have a statewide program, so in response, several counties in Missouri are considering partnering together to create a voluntary program. I have asked Director Pekarek to look into the possibility of our participation in the program, which could result in some potential cost to the city, and would require an ordinance be approved to allow us to participate in the program. As we learn more I will keep you posted.
-In response to past concerns raised by area contractors and the council, earlier this week, our IT department received cost information on adding online building permits and business licenses to our website. The cost is reasonable, so we are setting up a demonstration of these modules with city staff to learn more about the system before we move forward. If we decide to move forward, it would require a budget amendment for your consideration, but based on feedback we’ve received from other communities who use the system, I believe it should be considered.
-Finally, please mark your calendars for our monthly work session, which will take place on Monday, November 14th. On the agenda are an update on the progress of our CDBGDR program presented by Director Bolander and representatives from Deloitte, and an update on the Priority-Based Budgeting process. You have already received the draft version of the “Results Definitions”, which will be used to score the city’s programs in order to determine which programs are most critical to achieving our results.