DECATUR – An emphasis on exceptional municipal customer service being an expectation, renewed focus on annexations as a growth tool and the development of targeted revenue sources to fund very specific community needs were all a part of a list of priorities important to community growth and revitalization presented Monday night.
The discussion came about as part of a presentation by City Manager Tim Gleason proposing six categories of focus for the city developed as part his first seven months as City Manager. The priorities are meant to spur growth while positioning Decatur to control its own destiny, addressing declining property values while improving the desirability of our community.
Recommended priorities include:
•Enhanced city customer service as an expectation: This includes the continued development of a “can do” attitude and on finding ways to get things done. Gleason said that there are countless examples of staff going the extra mile to provide great service but that there is always work that can be done for us all to get better.
•Increased community and board involvement by City Staff
•Focus on annexations
•Strengthening community relationships to include working with landlords and seeking chances to give them more leverage with problem tenants while continuing with a strong code enforcement component to help provide better housing and environmental conditions, especially for young people. This also includes strengthening relationships with the business community, labor, the school and park district and seizing opportunities where available to encourage minority hiring and contracting.
•Development of Community Targeted Community Growth Revenue Streams
Growth revenue suggestions included a local motor fuel tax to fund local neighborhood projects, enhancement of liquor license costs and fees associated with gaming to pay for community cleanup and redevelopment and having a fire department-run single ambulance to cover an estimated $4-$8 million in department building repairs or replacement.
Gleason said that all of the ideas were items that he had discussed with Mayor McElroy before his passing as ways to impact our community in a big way. He said that the revenue sources – if approved – would be tied to specific line items for the purposes identified and not get redirected into the city’s general fund for other items.
“This allows us to control our own destiny; the success of Decatur drives the success of the region,” he said.
Contact Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information.