Saturday, March 3, 2018

Our Walk Counts More Than Our Talk

Being the Mayor of Pleasant Hill is such a privilege. Representing you to the City, helping our employees succeed, and working with the other local leaders in our State is a very unique opportunity that I do not take lightly. I have been an elected official now for 7 years in our City, but the last two years have been the best of which I have been a part. Our current Council and staff bring a diverse set of talents, experiences, and perspectives that together produce positive discussion on our community’s future.
It is key to work as a team, to communicate with your Council, and to provide as much information as possible to the community. We have been able to accomplish so much in a short period of time because we work together with the community to reach the goals we all share. Some of the tasks we’ve accomplished since April 2016 are:
  • Created our community’s 1st real Economic Development Policy.
    • We are now working with our builders and developers to gain perspective as to what their needs are to be successful, then translating that into policy.
  • After hearing a multitude of issues, we chose to change trash services.
    • This change resulted in a better, more accountable contract with a quality provider.
  • Began collaboration on a strategic development plan
    • This Strategic Development Plan will outline what zoning and development should look like in our undeveloped areas.
  • Opened the Rock Island State Park
    • We continue to meet with the Director of the Rock Island Trail and the Department of State Parks to ensure this trail gets finished on the existing trail bed and off of the highway as promised.
  • Opened the new MoPAC SingleTrack Trail at the City Lake
    • This project was constructed by many unbelievably gracious volunteer community members.
  • Received a grant to finish the MoPAC Trail to the City Lake.
    • Received final approval in February for the path of the trail and hope to begin construction this summer.
  • Raised our starting Police Officer pay and supplied them with better city provided equipment.
    • This goes without saying, but our law enforcement is due our thanks and much more. They are and should always be a top priority.
  • We hired several new City Hall staff.
    • City Administrator, Shawn Henessee
    • City Clerk, Jessica Elliot
    • Public Works Director by promoting Josh Alig
  • Expanded Oats services through a grant
    • Our citizens that use this service are a valuable group of our community. Expanding Oats services allows more local citizens to have access to local businesses, meeting their needs and reinvesting back into our local economy.
  • Stopped further tax increases to personal property through the debt levy.
    • Some might have you think increasing the debt levy is a good idea. Increasing the debt levy would add to your burden as a citizen and our local businesses by increasing your personal property taxes. There is no good reason that I can see for local government to take more money out of the pockets of our citizens and businesses at this time. We have a balanced budget, and will continue to as long as I am mayor. Our budget will continue to be tight until our full debt is paid (specifically the bonds passed in 2006 which will be paid in full by 2026), but that is how anyone that is fiscally responsible handles their finances when they go into debt.
  • 2016 FBI statistics placed our community as the 3rd safest City in the State of Missouri.
  • Developed better relationships with our State House and Senate
    • Staying in communication with our other government leaders gives our city the advantage and ability to stay in front of issues concerning our City and citizens
  • Developed better relationship with the School District.
    • Having open lines of communication with other community leaders means the city perspective is proactively considered early in plans of future needs instead of reacting to issues too far down the timeline.
  • Approved plans to completely rebuild Country Club from 7 Highway to Mulberry.
    • Project will begin this Spring, and we are beyond ready to get this going!
  • Held our community’s first public State of the City event.
    • Communication with and involvement of our citizens is VITAL. We are here to serve you, and your feedback is not only welcome, but necessary for Pleasant Hill to prosper.
  • Reviewed our codes to better align them with state statute.
    • We have improved our roofing, grass, nuisance, and mobile home codes.
  • Currently in the process of rewriting our entire code and develop a Unified Development Ordinance.
    • Over time, new codes get updated, added, and/or removed – our codes became outdated without having leaders that took time to review them consistently. You deserve better, and we’re working to ensure our community is up to date, with relevant and value-added codes for future growth and development. We will work with our local builders, developers, and citizens to make sure this process goes smoothly and we get it as right as possible the first time.
  • Designed a new Community Recreation Center, decided this is a project for future implementation
    • This is an example of being in-tune with our community. We heard you, the many of you that posted and voiced your thoughts on the need for a Community Recreation Center. Unfortunately, we do not feel now is the time to ask citizens for an increase in taxes. We’ve done work and now plans are ready for future Councils to hit the ground running when the time is right in the community.
  • Started preparations to become a Tree City USA city.
  • Continued our focus on improving our community's infrastructure.
    • Kept our budget commitment to put more funds towards our Public Works Department to continue fixing our roads, sewer, and water. Currently, we are working on a strategy to address our aging infrastructure on a larger scale to save money in the long run. Our water infrastructure is in need of updates, we are already checking out how we can handle this in the most fiscally responsible way.
  • Plus handled a variety of citizen concerns along the way
    • These are the most important. It is one of my greatest joys hearing from all of you. I love that you all hold me, and the other community leaders, accountable at all times. That is exactly how it should be. I do this for my state level leaders. It makes me so proud to see that you all care. I ask that, whether I am mayor or not, you all continue to get involved. Take time to come to a meeting. Say hello to your council members and mayor when you see them out, their families as well. We are here to serve. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve you.
None of this was done by me alone. In most cases, it was accomplished by our staff and Council working together for you. Our City staff, our many boards and committees, our City Council, and you, the citizens, are a pleasure to work with. If successful this April 3rd, there will be much more work to do. In my next blog post, I will discuss our upcoming goals for the Council.

I am proud to be from and the Mayor of Pleasant Hill. Excited is an understatement when I think about our future, and I am asking you for one more term to allow the Council and I to finish the many projects we have started. We are on the right path, and I hope you will allow me to continue to be a part of the journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment

It Has Been an Honor

I started my first job with the city of Pleasant Hill as a laborer in the Parks and Recreation Department. I painted lines on baseball fie...