Fifth in a series
Plans for a new fire station, ongoing reorganization in one department and updated equipment for a city park are some of the goals set for Shelbyville in 2013.
Department heads have turned in lists of goals -- many involving ongoing tasks and trying to plan for the future.
For the fire department, a great deal of their endeavors for the new year involves training -- both for new personnel and existing first responders.
A list of current activities submitted by fire chief Ricky McConnell includes working with 911 communications for a better city zone marking for all calls and getting the department's new rescue pumper equipped with all required National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) equipment and rescue tools.
McConnell wants to move the department's 1983 pumper to Station #3 at the airport, making sure it has all the required NFPA equipment to start a volunteer station there - giving that area a class 3 Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating.
City manager Jay Johnson noted they don't have the staff for Station #3 yet, but it can be properly equipped and then volunteers can automatically respond to that building if needed.
The chief has also expressed his wish for a new fire station on the north end of Shelbyville to improve response times to that area, which was recommended by the city's last ISO inspection done in 2005. Johnson said that idea depends on the city's budget.
Earlier this year, Johnson noted while current call volume does not show a critical need for a new station, it should be considered within the next five years or less. The plans are for a building of 6,000 to 8,000 square feet, with bays for at least two trucks, and living quarters for six to eight full-time firefighters.
When the city hires its new planning and community development director in the coming year, that person will have a number of goals to attain.
One item discussed last year that will be considered in 2013 is an ordinance to separate Shelbyville's planning commission from the board of zoning appeals. The mayor and city council would appoint a new membership to the board.
Johnson said in August that having different members on the zoning board would give the city a new set of eyes or a "second perspective" on what could be controversial issues. The appeals board only meets several times a year, and then only for very brief periods to consider matters.
For the third quarter of 2013, revisions and updates are planned for the both the city's zoning and sign code. Throughout the year, grants and funding will be sought for beautification and the demolition of blighted structures.
Around the end of the year, the planning department will do research to see if it is feasible to implement the "administrative hearing officer" provision passed by the state legislature that would streamline the prosecution of property maintenance and codes violations.
Johnson explained that the law was passed two years ago, and "very few cities implemented it," but former planning director Ed Dodson had begun looking into the idea. Only very large cities have adopted it and Johnson described it as a complicated process, and the person taking the job of hearing officer would have to be certified by the state.
The building and codes department will look at establishing a board of construction appeals, made up of members including a plumber, electrician, and a general contractor. Their job would be to hear appeals over code violations and interpretation issues, focusing on just the topic of building and codes.
The 2013 goals for the parks and recreation department will involve analyzing the results of a community needs assessment for the system and coming up with a marketing strategy to promote the services they provide.
Using this information, the department hopes to implement at least one new program each quarter based on the community's desires, as well as a new aquatic program every three months.
A policy and procedure manual is planned to be developed by the department for youth athletics programs, and they will continue to look into opportunities for new green space to be utilized, especially for the soccer program.
Required ADA playground safety improvements are also slated for Never Rest Park with funds from a state grant and local matching dollars. In October, a $25,000 Local Parks & Recreation Fund grant was announced for the project.
Director Sylvia Pinson explained last year that the equipment at Never Rest was out of compliance since there is no grand fathering (exemption from the rules for pre-existing structures) on safety standards and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules.
In addition to the new equipment, the Never Rest site will also have engineered wood fibers placed on the ground for the play set's "fall zones."
Johnson said that the city wants to look the concept into electronic membership cards for the recreation center, saying that users can just "swipe" the card instead of the usual practice. The city manager said this may help out with staffing issues in that department.