Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Upcoming Special Meeting 2.16.23 and Other Updates

The Council will be having a Special Meeting this Thursday to meet with the firm we engaged to conduct the executive search for a full time City Manager.  The meeting will take place in closed session so there likely won't be much to update, but I wanted to share that the process is continuing to move forward.

There's quite a bit of other activity that is happening at City Hall and that I wanted to provide updates on as well.  At our last meeting we approved upleveling one police officer position to a Sergeant and I'm pleased to share that Officer Torey Jarvis was promoted to Sergeant Torey Jarvis.  Congratulations!

Our new full time Finance Director, Angeline Loeffler began on 2.13.23 and will be diving right in on our mid year budget review.  Because of the vacancy in this role, we have had to put a number of projects on hold.  With the start of Ms. Loeffler, I'm hopeful we'll be able to gain traction on both fiscal sustainability efforts and an improvement in overall operational excellence.  

One such effort that we will be undertaking in the very short term is looking at our overall asset allocation as it relates to investments.  According to our latest report, our asset portfolio was approximately $13M, with a blended rate yield of approximately 1.66%.  The bulk of our investments are in longer term CDs, with smaller components placed in Treasury Notes, US Bonds, and local government investment pools.  Due to the longer durations of some of our investments, the yields on these have not kept up with what is currently available.  Had we invested in shorter duration assets, we would have been more able to adjust as the market moved and our prior year budget deficits would have been reduced significantly if not entirely.  

With current short and mid term US Treasuries yielding at near 5%, there is significant opportunity to earn greater returns with zero added risk.  As a result, I have asked our Interim City Manager and our new Finance Director to prioritize this asset reallocation as soon as possible.

During the height of COVID, we demonstrated that the work of the city could continue even if City Hall was not always open to the public.  Considering this, and looking for a way to alleviate some of the unpredictable demand on staff, I suggested that we provide dedicated time to focus for our city staff without distractions.  This idea was met enthusiastically by both our prior and current Interim City Manager, as well as city staff.  Accordingly, City Hall will be closing to the public on Wednesdays, beginning February 15.  Often there is work that requires dedicated attention, but because of vacancies and our small staff in general, when they need to address individuals who come to City Hall it can disrupt their work and cause inefficiencies.  Staff will continue to be working, but allowing them to have dedicated time to focus should allow them to structure their workload to be as efficient as possible while still being available to provide service to the public.  

I continue to look for ways to improve efficiency for staff, service to residents, while making progress towards fiscal sustainability.  More to come as we move forward.   If you are interested in receiving updates by email, please sign up here:  https://mailchi.mp/5d7a45704bd4/jeffwanupdates