It is our expectation that the city will continue moving forward with the projects and development currently underway. However, as a statement of purpose and principle, the City Council wishes to make known its focus and intentions for the coming fiscal year. While, each of these tasks calls the City Manager into direct action, it will be up to all of us to make sure we succeed.
We as a City Council wish to take a more direct approach in providing guidance and direction for the success of Ada. We are ready for Ada to take the next great leap forward. Therefore, the tasks included in this list are intended to move Ada forward and ensure our success.
The following tasks have been identified by the City Council as areas that progress must be made over the next fiscal year. It will be the responsible of the City Manager to direct the appropriate city staff in determining how these changes and projects will be undertaken. In order to ensure that these items are receiving the attention we require, the City Council will meet quarterly in executive session to review the progress and evaluate the performance of the City Manager.
1. The City Manager shall nurture and promote the growth of our business community.
A. A retail economic development program must be established and remain in full force.
B. We must develop a program that addresses the issue of affordable working class housing. A big factor in limiting economic development is the lack of affordable, quality housing. Therefore, we should move forward in creating the appropriate conditions for the right type of housing to be developed.
2. The City Manager shall ensure that the appropriate changes are made to make Ada more business friendly. The changes, at a minimum, should begin with and address the following concerns:
A. The City Planner must be willing to take into account the special needs of businesses and be cognizant of the fact that the City of Ada is developing a more business friendly attitude when making decisions and recommendations regarding zoning, variances, etc.
B. The system of issuing variances or rezoning locations for businesses needs to be streamlined.
C. The City Inspectors must be consistent. Contractors constantly complain that rules and procedures are applied differently depending on the particular inspector who is assigned to their job site. We must review the way the rules and city code are applied and make sure we remain consistent across all jobs and all Inspectors.
D. The entire system must take into account the time sensitive nature of business related building, construction and remodeling projects.
3. The City Manager shall ensure that Ada Public Works, especially the street division, places a greater emphasis on starting and finishing projects as quickly as possible. There is no doubt we have one of the most productive an efficient Public Works departments in the state of Oklahoma, but we must place a greater focus on completion of projects, especially when those jobs aggravate traffic patterns and negatively affect those businesses that we are trying so hard to attract.
4. The City Manager shall ensure that we are better utilizing Wintersmith Park. We have a great asset in our park that is woefully underutilized. Our ordinances, rules and regular course of business currently make it very difficult to host events and utilize park assets in any organized manner. The amphitheater is a great example of an asset that overregulation has rendered relatively useless. We need to develop a plan that will open the park to be used on a much more regular basis for special events while still ensuring that the events are safe and best suited for the city and the citizens of Ada.
5. The City Manager shall ensure that the employment policies of the city allow for the discipline and termination of employees who grievously break the public trust. The current employment policies of the city are either so restrictive as to make it impossible for a city employee to lose their job or the city is too reluctant to discipline employees appropriately. This perception has led many citizens to lose faith in our city staff. We require a review of current employee policies and procedures in order to determine the appropriate changes to make sure violating employees are held accountable.
6. The City Manager shall do everything possible and feasible to ensure that the best interests of Ada are being served whenever and wherever decisions are being made regarding or relating to the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer. Additionally, while the protection and preservation of the aquifer is paramount to our city, there are also interests that are unique to Ada. In working with other interested parties and users of the aquifer to ensure its preservation, we must remain cognizant of and fight to protect our own unique interests.
7. The City Manger shall contract for a study which details the cost, to the city of Ada, to provide water to the Ada citizenry and the surrounding areas utilizing our water. Further, examine that cost in light of current water rates and determine the best method(s) in which to reconcile the two amounts. A portion of any increase, that may be warranted, could then be used to offset the cost of ensuring Ada has a safe, reliable source of water well into the future.
8. The City Manager shall encourage the city staff and outside contractors to research and review new and creative ways to solve problems and extend our budget. The issues that need to be addressed include, but are not limited to:
A. The city manager shall work to eliminate waste and unneeded spending in order to ensure that city employees receive the cost of living wage increase that has been absent the last several years.
B. The City appropriated funds from the expired hospital tax to be utilized in the construction of a new road to the water tower located on Monte Vista. This issue should be resolved sooner rather than later as to whether that money will continue to used for the water tower road construction or whether it will be returned to the hospital tax fund for the use of the hospital.
C. Compile a list of city programs and/or staff positions that could be cut or reduced in an effort to cut waste and reduce redundancy.
D. Investigate the possibility of collecting that portion of the currently unclaimed percentage of the hotel/motel tax that is allowable by law.
E. Review the methods by which other municipalities invest money in order to ensure that we are receiving the highest rates of return possible.
9. The City Manager shall be responsible for developing more productive and efficient methods of communication to the public. We must be more active in promoting our successes and communicating future plans to the citizens. This could include the use of a re-designed, more visually pleasing, press release, additional news/informational articles in the Ada news, encouraging city staff, as well as council members, to become more active in making presentations to civic clubs, and even printing additional messages on the monthly water bills. The use of new media is only becoming more ingrained in the everyday lives of the regular person. These new media avenues and technologies should be utilized to spread information that will increase the citizens’ knowledge and awareness of our progress so that they can be proud of what Ada is accomplishing.
10. The City Manager shall foster cooperation and develop an atmosphere of trust and collaboration between department heads and chiefs and assistant chiefs and the individuals they supervise. Regardless of the reasoning, we have an inordinate amount of disagreement and dissention between these groups that must be remedied. We cannot and will not move forward as a city until or unless those working in and for Ada have a successful and congruous working environment. Therefore, we must develop a plan in which all parties can speak candidly and work towards improving these relationships.
11. The City Manager shall ensure that city staff is open to new ideas and committed to the growth and advancement of Ada. We cannot reach our goals with a staff or citizenry that is opposed to considering new ideas and unwilling to solve problems in new and progressive ways. We have many long-term employees in leadership positions whose history and experience are invaluable to the daily operations of the city. But, many times, some of those same individuals are the ones most opposed to change. We must and will break that cycle. As the council it is our job to ensure that we have the right person in the role of City Manager. It is the City Manager’s job to ensure he has the right people in serving in leadership roles. We will be pressuring the City Manager, so, in turn; he will be pressuring those in leadership to make sure the changes we require take hold.