March 23, 2011 by wcobserver
West Fork, Arkansas
For submission to the West Fork City Council and Planning Commission
March 16, 2011
GOALS FOR 2011
Planning for the future is an essential strategy for creating a quality future for West Fork. Planning begins with a vision for the future and defining the (Goals) necessary to achieve the vision. Goals are often prioritized based upon the need for one goal to provide a base for achieving the other. The effort to achieve a goal is composed of smaller steps (Objectives) that can be measured and which produce outcomes that permit one to evaluate the degree of success.
GOAL 1: For the year 2011, the Goal of financial stability and sustainability is my number one goal. Financial stability is necessary to maintain operations necessary for the general welfare and safety of the population, our primary charge by the state and federal governments. I define financial stability as “the City’s ability to maintain a steady revenue stream by monitoring its operations to prevent the loss of revenue and manage the income to hold sufficient reserves.” The most important part of the definition is “monitoring its operations’. Accounting is at the tail end of the monitoring process, reflects the past, and provides a financial base for planning.
Financial sustainability is a City’s ability to attract and keep economic contributors, either business or tourism. Grants are also an important part of sustainability. Attracting and keeping economic contributors rather than economic drains relies on careful planning, a city infrastructure capable of responding to the contributors, and the understanding how to avoid economic drain through monitoring.
GOAL 2: IDENTIFY, REVIEW, AND RECOVER POINTS OF LOST REVENUE
With regard to the City’s revenue stream, in my first month in office I visited with department heads to discuss how money came into and out of their department, and discussed the basics of how they managed their department. The District Court was identified by Mr. Bartholomew, the Water and Sewer Superintendent, as a department with a significant loss of revenue. Based on the City’s history of monitoring its revenue stream, I initiated the following:
a. DISTRICT COURT: The head of District Court, Pauletta Welch, and I met many times to identify the reasons for the loss of revenue. Once the reasons for the loss of revenue were identified, Ms. Welch visited with court clerks in other cities to determine what methods they were using to help reverse the loss of revenue. A joint meeting was held with the staff of the District Court and the Police Chief, Mike Nelson, to obtain input and develop a plan for submission to the Council. As a result of that meeting, a report detailing the reasons for the loss in revenue, the profit/loss of the Court, and suggested remedies for the loss of revenue will be presented by the Court and the West Fork Police Department at the April City Council meeting.
b. ANIMAL CONTROL: Animal control is an example of the City’s failure to monitor the revenue stream. The City’s inability to collect some of its costs for animal control was two-fold. First, there is an old animal ordinance with minimal fines and no method of collecting or recording fines. The out-dated ordinance has been addressed but the method of enforcing, collecting and recording fines has to put in place, and then monitored to assure the collection of revenue.
Monitoring requires an administrative infrastructure capable of tracking and planning, just as preventive maintenance is a monitoring process for buildings, vehicles, and other inventory. Rather than responding to emergency situations with no idea what will happen next, a budget management and allocation system will emerge from the monitoring process.
c. ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES: In the State of the City address, I announced that as Mayor I was assuming responsibility for the finances and business decisions of the City. My decision was based on a discussion with Mr. Bartholomew who was then acting as business manager, a meeting and discussion with the City Auditor, Mr. Kennedy, and then reviewing the audit reports of the City presented to the Council in December of 2010.
Legislative Audit Committee: At the January 2011 City Council meeting, the council approved my suggestion that I obtain the free services of the state’s Legislative Audit Committee. I began the process of obtaining the audit services of the Committee. However, in mid-February that process was halted due to a management issue. I will continue to work on securing the services of the Legislative Audit Committee.
Policies and Procedures: In support of the Council’s decision in December 2010 to have departments construct policies and procedures, including those for accounting, I asked Mr. Kennedy to come to West Fork and help us with the policies and procedures for accounting. In the interim, I have begun working with two departments to begin writing policies and procedures,
GOAL 3: PLANNING COMMISSION: Reinstate and support the Planning Commission. One role of the Planning Commission is to monitor development to ensure compliance with the City’s Community Development Plan. The Community Development Plan is West Fork’s vision for the future. It is also regularly evaluated by the Planning Commission to ensure goals are being met and to determine if changes to the Plan are necessary. The Planning Commission is an important contributor of information relevant to economic development.
GOAL 4: WATER AND SEWER: Begin the development of a plan to improve the water and sewer infrastructure and turn losses into profits. The effect of the new EPA guidelines on our waste treatment facility remain undetermined, as does the factors affecting a decision to build a new plant or tie on to Fayetteville’s waste treatment facility. In 2009 and 2010 there was an average loss of $60,000 per year. The Reserve fund required for bonded projects is down by $19,000. An in-depth report should be completed in the next three months.
GOALS FOR 2012, 2013, 2014
GOAL 1: IDENTIFY, REVENUE AND CAPRURE LOST REVENUE (CONTINUED)
GOAL 2: WATER AND SEWER (CONTINUED) THIS IS A PRIMARY GOAL
GOAL 3: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Economic contributors seek to operate in a city which is safe, attractive, offers recreational activities, has an interesting history, has well educated workers, and has good city infrastructure support. While West Fork has excellent recreational areas and activities, it also has a number of barriers to address in order to attract business. The downtown area of West Fork must be improved, and the water and sewer infrastructure must be improved in order to reduce its financial drain caused by water losses.
To advance the attractiveness of our city, we must identify vacant properties and seek remedies for repair and maintenance. Where properties are inhabited but not well kept, I propose to develop a volunteer plan for supporting those who cannot care for their property. For those who are able bodied, a plan will be developed.
Historic preservation and recognition of founder homes are also very important to a city’s attractiveness.
Promotion of our City is essential for attracting positive economic contributors. A web site should be developed for the City which is capable of promoting:
- The qualities of the City; i.e. schools, employee base, proximity to state parks and the University of Arkansas.
- Informing and educating the public by publicizing current and pending ordinances, promoting our parks and its activities, and promoting the production, accessibility and affordability of local farm and artisan products.
GOAL 4: PUBLIC SAFETY
Our police and fire departments are an integral part of our community and I am committed to working with them as a partner to maintain the public’s trust and confidence in what they do. In order to maintain a high degree of professionalism, I will hold interdepartmental meetings, support the development of interdepartmental goals, support career development through training, advancement and as with all departments, reward for exemplary service.
GOAL 5: IMPROVE WORK ENVIRONMENT
Department Heads: I will support department heads in the development of policies and procedures for each department. Collaborative efforts do yield greater results, educates one department about the other, and can identify common goals and shared experiences. Not all collaborations will involve an equal division of work. In-service regarding budget methods and other educational opportunities will be provided to assist department heads with management.
Hourly Employees: A needs analysis is very important to determine the extent of needs and the importance of each need. Purchasing should be made not only on the basis of how much money we have at the moment, but planning for the purchase of essential equipment and materials. Employees should be a vital part of needs assessment and decision making.
GOAL 6: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
In order to conserve our natural resources and monies, I believe the City should implement and encourage environmental sustainability. We should evaluate all city projects and construction for sustainability. As a consideration, drainage gutters with grass are far more preferable than concrete for protecting the environment and cost less. The use of solar lighting is a worthy goal.
Partnerships and programs to encourage residents and businesses to adopt sustainable practices have already begun in West Fork. The Renewable Resource Center continues to expand its services and now takes appliances, metals, and used motor oil. In 2010, they recycled 80 tons. The City should continue to support the Center and incorporate recycling in its daily administrative operations.
It is very important that the City become a full partner in the protection of the West Fork of the White River Watershed. The river is an integral part of our lives, but the river is a severely impaired river and its impurities flow into Beaver Lake, our source of drinking water. The more it costs to clean our water, the higher the rate for drinking water.
In an effort to protect the watershed and Beaver Lake, volunteers clean the river from Winslow to Fayetteville once every year. West Fork should be able to stand proud because of its efforts to protect the river and its scenic beauty.
I have presented the most immediate and what I consider the most important goals. In the future, more goals will be identified and prioritized. The process of self-evaluation and the resulting construction of new goals and objectives is a dynamic process. Thus, I caution the Council to remember that efforts to achieve a goal are not fixed actions, nor are goals fixed entities. Both the Mayor and the Council must be engaged in a continuous assessment process and work as collaborative partners.
As I continue to work with the departments and the City Council, I will provide quarterly reports regarding the above goals. I look forward to working with the City Council in the development of mutual goals.
Frances Hime, Mayor
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