One of the reasons our City has suffered a number of lawsuits is because of our lack of process and professionalism. In the last eighteen months, the Board, Administration and myself have taken a few of the major issues head on.
1. Process to support adherence to our rules, and regulations, and make exception requests open to the public for feedback and input.
2. Worked through a process to improve the sewer collection system to minimize environmental impacts, and lengthen our collection system’s life.
3. Establish a full service policing model that offers 24 x 7 coverage, the latest technology, and the best trained team.
None of these initiatives happen quickly. They take planning, diligence to manage and audit the plan, the right team members or partners to deliver on the plan, the methods and procedures to measure if the initiatives are delivering on the expectations, and the wherewithal to adjust the plan if something is not working.
In a future article, I will walk through everything the City team has been working on as it relates to Police Services. This week I will walk through all of the improvements we have made on the transparency and sewer collection system.
Creating an environment of professionalism and complete transparency has come with some bumps in the road. Forcing all exceptions to our codes and rules through citizen committees (Board of Adjustments and Planning and Zoning Commission) ensuring everyone has a say, has not been easy. This did not consistently occur in the past. The City rules and standards were often treated as “guidelines” versus steadfast rules. The City also didn’t necessarily have the correct skills to manage, audit, and control our own regulations. Procuring these skills comes at a cost.
That said, all exceptions to the City codes are now discussed in public forums, that are posted and impacted citizens notified. This process too will mature and become smoother with time.
The City has also aggressively attacked the sewer collection system. The current administration did not devise the plan to improve the collection system, that was established under previous Mayors, but we now have the data that say these fixes are working. A few weeks ago, at the Board of Alderman work session, we had Ted Martin, our City sewer engineer, analyze all of the pump station data we have collected over the last four years. The analysis involved detailed statistical analysis to determine if the amount of flow in our system was less than before we fixed all of the holes, cracks and other gaps. We also compared the data, for where we completed the fixes in the system, to where we have not yet repaired, and low and behold, there was a direct correlation to the areas where improvements were completed, and less flow. This is a huge deal. This means if we keep the path, we should be able to gradually reduce the amount of flow in our overall system over time. It was very, very rewarding to see that four years of gradual fixes is really paying dividends. This may impact our long-term decisions once the current set of bonds are paid off in a few years. Again, laying out a process, and running that process is working successfully.
Next week, I will introduce some new ideas and processes that Chief Wilson has been working through since he joined our team earlier this year.
As always, if you have a topic you would like me to discuss, please drop me a note.
Scott Miles, Mayor
City of Lake Lotawana