First of a series
New Year's resolutions might be the tradition for some, but for the city of Shelbyville, they are setting down goals they hope to accomplish for the citizens they serve in 2013.
This past year was the first time department heads were asked to set the goals requested by city manager Jay Johnson.
The new list is about the same size as the one for 2012. Johnson said that many of the goals set for 2013 are internal administrative matters, "but as we accomplish things, it makes us more efficient, more effective."
"We're just not trying to react, we are trying to plan ahead," he said, adding that the goals are not a budget exercise, but to focus on accomplishments, "and what we can get done with the resources and staff we have."
For the city's administration, a list of continuous goals have been made, such as seeking out federal and state grants to help fund Shelbyville projects and programs and cooperating with the state, the chamber of commerce and the city's industrial board for economic development efforts.
During the second quarter of the year, the development of the 2013-2014 budget will take place, with a plan to revise and update the city's employee job descriptions.
One of the goal for the city's administration is to prepare a five-year capital improvement plan outline, noting that Shelbyville and other communities have had to put off such projects due to funding issues.
An outline of what type of capital needs Shelbyville will have over the next five year or longer would help create a discussion on the city's needs and how to fund them, Johnson explained. Some of the items could be paid for with federal or state grants, while others could be covered under the city's budget or a combination of donations and city funds.
One new idea is to review, update and expand the information available on Shelbyville's Internet portal. Johnson explained that some in both the city government and the council has stated that "our Web site could be better."
Over the past year, meeting minutes and bid notices have been posted on the site, but Johnson said that they would like to provide a lot more information to the public.
Earlier this month, new council member Henry Feldhaus suggested expanding the coverage of council meeting from TV to live streaming video over the Internet, where it could also be archived on the city's Web site. Feldhaus also proposed a new technology position be created within the city to expedite that idea.
Johnson said he thought "that is a great goal" and supported it, but said in the context of the city's current revenue situation, the entire council would need to discuss it, also stating that it has been several years since anyone has been added to Shelbyville's government.
Another issue would be the cost of Internet bandwidth to stream live video, and the city does not currently have the capability to do that. "There may be some things we can do first that's within our budget," Johnson said, and if the council decides to continue to go that route, he saw no problem with the idea.
Other goals are continuing issues from 2012, including coordinating and working closely with the new Downtown Shelbyville Task Force, selecting and hiring a new planning and community development director, and continue to examine, revise and update the city's comprehensive plan.
Johnson said that during the second quarter, he wants a "broader and more in depth" analysis for the city's revenue so it can be discussed and reviewed by the council.
The council will also review findings on energy efficiency and conservation measures. Last September, the council signed off on an energy-saving feasibility study by the firm Ameresco at no cost to Shelbyville.
Johnson said that Ameresco has already done an overview "where they think there could be significant cost savings." The firm will be appearing before the council early in the new year to present their initial report, and then the council can decide if they want to move forward.
A lot of energy savings work has been done at Shelbyville Recreation Center, Johnson said, and Ameresco's review is pointing to even further cost savings.
Also carrying over from 2012 is the issue of fire hydrant fees charged to the city by Shelbyville Water System, which Johnson said he hoped to review and conclude prior to the council's review of the budget in the late spring.
City officials and the municipal utility system have been at odds about a monthly fee of $10.30 for each of the 1,123 functioning fire hydrants in the city, meaning that Shelbyville would have to pay $138,803 annually to the water system.
"It's really been disappointing that a simple question eight months later is still on the table," Johnson would only say on the topic.