2018 ıs a wrap, and with the start of a new year, thoughts are likely on what needs to be done next — or on the projects that still need wrapped up. Unlike the New Year’s resolutions of average citizens, it takes a team to organize city priorities, projects and goals across departments; they also require the approval of a city council. Communication is key to getting everyone on the same page — ignoring the presence of any conflicting personalities that seem to crop up in any organization, whether a city or a private company.
Maintenance probably tops or is within most municipal departments’ top 10 list of needs for 2019. In December, Decatur, Ill., proposed up to $48 million in infrastructure projects for 2019, which would include addressing neglected municipal-owned roadways and outdated sewers while also finishing a new Fire Station No. 5. In late November, Bossier City, La., requested city council approval of a $60 million bond that would fund city projects like the expansion of the northern parkway extension, an addition to the city’s animal control facility and improvements to city roads and ditches.
These cities are not alone with several others also trying to make room in their budgets to prevent infrastructure woes.
However, with so many demands on limited budgets, data is invaluable when presenting needs and to propel projects from ideas to reality. Geographic Information Systems have been one tool in cities’ toolbox when it comes to data gathering and putting said data into an overall picture. GIS has been invaluable when mapping miles upon miles of infrastructure and cataloging its present state. Writer Andrew Mentock will be sharing other ways cities are sliding GIS into their operations, from public works to transportation and everything in between.
Fresh perspective can also benefit city operations, including stepping away from your own city and exploring the operations of another. Writer Denise Fedorow spoke with Bend, Ore., City Manager Eric King who recently participated in the International City/County Management Association’s International Management Exchange program for the second time. This time he was able to see the workings of Frankston, Victoria,
Australia. The experience offered ideas for the future of technology and how Bend could better position itself to become a Smart City. When King hosted his Australian counterpart, he also received positive feedback: “We’ve been having a challenge funding roads, and when (Tim Frederico, director of corporate development for Frankston) came, he remarked how nice our roads were. Seeing the reflection of our city in his eyes gave me confidence in our city overall.”
Bend is definitely onto something. It ranked No. 4 on WalletHub’s list of the “2018 Fastest-Growing Cities in America,” so kudos to it and the other cities making up the list’s top 10 — see page 60.
With any luck, 2019 will also bring great growth to your municipalities. For those impacted by disaster in 2018, we pray 2019 brings healing and further recovery. Have a happy New Year, everyone!