Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lioneld Jordan: state of the city 2015

State of the City January 20, 2015 Mayor Lioneld Jordan
Ladies and Gentlemen of the City Council, City Clerk Treasurer Sondra Smith, City Attorney Kit Williams, and my fellow citizens of Fayetteville, I am proud to report tonight that the state of our City is sound.
Arkansas law requires that I report to you on an annual basis, but this is more than a statutory obligation, it is a time-honored tradition and an opportunity to share our accomplishments as we outline some of the projects that continue to make our City a leader in the region and state.
It is also an opportunity to commend the work of this Council and our City employees, the women and men in charge of delivering city services with efficiency and integrity, representing a commitment that runs through this Administration - a belief that public service is a noble calling and that part of what makes Fayetteville special is helping our neighbors live a better, more comfortable, and more productive life. The services you provide every single day throughout Fayetteville have made us the safest and strongest large city in Arkansas, and you deserve our deep gratitude and respect. I am very proud of your hard work and shared commitment to our community.
Moreover, this City is what it is because our citizens are who they are. I am grateful for the ideas, energy, and participation of all Fayetteville residents who have made Fayetteville a top city in the nation to live, learn, work, and play.
It is a high honor for me to deliver the annual State of the City Address and to tell the story of our local government and its contributions to our community. You know I can't start without saying how much I love this city! I love this city, and I know you love it, too. Together we are building a bright future for our residents all of them. We continue to have faith in our city that honors our heritage, works for today, invests in the future, and meets new challenges. We have done diligent work during the past year to preserve and
honor our heritage to provide outstanding services and build and maintain our City’s physical and social infrastructure. Our record of public service and our agenda for the coming year both focus on public safety, economic prosperity, quality of life, and a responsive city government.
Toward that end, it is my pleasure to welcome two new elected officials as part of our City team Fayetteville District Judge Bill Storey and Ward Four Alderman John La Tour. It is an honor to serve with you.
Honors and Recognition
We're about getting results, not about getting headlines, but I wish to note that the City of Fayetteville was recognized for numerous honors in 2014. I want to highlight a few in this report. City Clerk Sondra Smith served on several state boards and committees, including service as President of the Arkansas City Clerks, Recorders, and Treasurers Association; and she received the Municipal League’s Adrian L. White Municipal Leadership Award and the Arkansas City Clerks, Recorders, and Treasurers Association Dedicated Service Award.
City Attorney Kit Williams not only provides wise legal advice to our City, he also provides broader public service as Chair of the Arkansas Chapter of the International Municipal Lawyers Association.
City staff members Fritz Gisler and Doug Bankston received EMMY® Awards for work on the Recycle Something campaign by our Media Services division, which also won three Telly Awards and three Communicator Awards for excellence in production, editing, and sound design.
Wilson Park was voted Northwest Arkansas’s Best of the Best Parks, with Gulley Park receiving runner-up recognition. Fayetteville received 5 Bloom Awards in 2014 from America in Bloom and again received the Tree City USA Community annual award. Fayetteville was recognized as an “Arkansas Volunteer Community of the Year” for the 6th year in a row.
Arkansas Business again recognized Fayetteville for City of Distinction Awards, with The ARK Challenge mentorship-driven accelerator program for technology startups winning in the Workforce Development category. Honorable Mention awards went to The City of Fayetteville’s My Fayetteville Services in the Technology Advancements award category and our purchase and plans for Mount Kessler Park in the Tourism Development category.
In 2014, Fayetteville was recognized in national publications as one of
“America's Best Emerging Cities”, as a “Best City for Global Trade” and one of
the “50 Great Affordable College Towns” in the U.S., and one of the "50 U.S.
Cities with the Most Doctoral Degree Holders." We were ranked 83rd in
Livability.com’s recent list of Top 100 Top Places To Live, and Travel & Leisure
listed Fayetteville as #7 in the nation on their America’s Quirkiest Towns list.
Public Safety
Providing public safety is one of the most important responsibilities of city government, and assuring the safety of our citizens and their property is a fundamental element in our social contract. We are dedicated to having safe neighborhoods, business districts, and streets where all residents feel welcome and secure. Fayetteville is a city where our residents can proclaim with the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “I have an affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighborhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets.”
There has been continued growth in Fayetteville, leading to an increased demand for public services. In 2014, the Fayetteville Police Department’s Central Dispatch Center received approximately 40,000 911 calls, which is an increase of 6% from 2013, and the police department responded to approximately 43,000 calls for service, which is an increase of 3.5% from 2013. In our Fire Department, there was a 10.5% increase in calls for service over 2013 and up 32.5% since 2010. This is more than 9,400 calls this year. There were 400 fire service calls for purposes such as checking smoke alarms, strange odors, or shutting off water.
To enhance community school safety, we made crosswalk improvements around school areas and installed crossing and PED poles, as well as intersection visibility improvements by increased clearing of roadside growth. The Fayetteville Police Department expanded its School Resource Officer (SRO) Program with the addition of three (3) officers to the Fayetteville Public School District.
Our Fayetteville Police Department Citizen’s Police Academy continues to be a success. This free of charge, 10 week course allows community members to receive a stronger understanding of how their police department functions and operates.
HazMat Technicians helped facilitate and taught at the Arkansas HazMat Conference in Little Rock, we hosted a HazMat Drill at City Hospital and hosted a HazMat Drill at Baum Stadium parking lot with 8 other agencies. Our Fire Department conducted a Fayetteville Family Fire Safety Day again this year and, overall, had public education contact with 5,400 children and 1,200 adults in 2014. The Fire Marshal’s Office performed 80 fire scene investigations in 2014 and over 1,300 building inspections. Fayetteville was again certified as a Firewise Community in 2014.
As a result of our outstanding commitment and performance, Fayetteville’s ISO Rating Jumped from Class 4 to Class 2, which means not
only greater safety but also lower property insurance premiums for businesses and homeowners.
We continue to invest in our people and provide well-trained personnel and cost-efficient public safety services. I joined all of our City’s Department & Division heads who attended FEMA’s National Incident Management System training this year and received our emergency management certifications at the 100, 200, 300 and 400 levels. These City’s Emergency Support Function leaders are designated in the Emergency Operations Plan.
The Fayetteville Police Department’s 2014 Recruitment Plan focused on a commitment to positive recruitment, including participation in many career expos, educational recruitment initiatives, and the sponsoring of open houses and department tours. We changed our written entrance exam in an attempt to produce a higher percentage of women and minority police candidates. The Fayetteville Police Department continues to be involved in community outreach and educational programs. We also changed our Civil Service rules to begin attracting fire fighter candidates from a nationwide pool by adopting the national Candidate Physical Ability Test and National Testing Network exam systems.
In addition, we have made effective use of technology to improve public safety. The City added the Fayetteville Alert System to meet public demand for emergency alert services and accessibility of up-to-date notifications about municipal services and events. This project included development of a training manual and policy and an active public education campaign headed in-house by our Media Services Division. In addition, we installed the new MediaSense Recording System that can accurately capture all the voice media required by the Police Department and Judicial system.
Always seeking to provide more efficient services while operating within our budget, we have sought ways to enhance public safety while instituting new policies that save money without compromising our mission and have pursued outside funding to be even more effective.
In August, the Fayetteville Police Department worked with Fayetteville District Judge David A. Stewart on an order that allowed officers to utilize discretion as to whether or not a physical arrest is made or citation issued for most Class A misdemeanor offenses. This unprecedented order has reduced officers being taken off the streets for administrative paperwork and decreased taxpayer costs for booking fees. The District Court also completed a Courtroom automation technology upgrade and in 2015 will be upgrading security system automation and staff training.
We also saved approximately $200,000 of our 2014 overtime budget for the Police department by utilizing time trades and creative staffing and scheduling techniques.
The Fayetteville Police Department was awarded and maintained 15 grants for law enforcement purposes with total grant funds in excess of one million dollars. These grants include funding from both state and federal sources for law enforcement activities ranging from drug enforcement, traffic enforcement, Internet crimes against children, school resource officers, law enforcement equipment, training, and officer safety. The Fayetteville Fire Department received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant of over $120,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for purchasing Wildland Firefighting protective gear for all firefighters.
The Police Department, in partnership with Project Right Choice of Northwest Arkansas, was awarded the First Place prize of $10,000 in the Small Cities category by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for our Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Program.
Cost savings with environmental benefits have also contributed to our efforts. In December 2014, the Police Department converted two of its marked patrol Chevy Tahoes to propane fuel and added a third hybrid vehicle to its fleet. In 2015, the Police Department will continue to explore hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles when replacing or expanding its vehicle fleet.
In early 2015, we will acquire thirteen portable speed display signs. These traffic calming devices will be utilized primarily around the Fayetteville public schools to enhance traffic, pedestrian and child safety, and to serve as a reminder for motorists to travel at the posted speed limit. The Police Department plans to purchase Automated External Defibrillators (AED) for every marked patrol unit in 2015. Fayetteville officers are trained and recertified annually in CPR, and they are often the first emergency personnel to arrive on scene when someone is having a cardiac emergency.
Our support for our public safety personnel must not waiver. We will assure that they are compensated at market rates. In addition, we will be asking the Arkansas Legislature to amend the Workers Compensation coverage to include presumptive cancer coverage for firefighters and mental health benefits for first responders.
Economic Development
The City of Fayetteville defines economic development as the improved quality of life for all through the creation of opportunities, wealth, and prosperity and through strategies that sustain long-term economic viability. We believe in an open, inclusive and collaborative approach to economic
development, that citizens should have an active role in shaping economic development policies, and that everyone in Fayetteville has a voice, everyone can be included, and everyone participates in sustaining our community.
To that end, we chartered the Fayetteville Forward Economic Accountability Council in 2009, and it has done an outstanding job in shaping our plans and policies. Through Fayetteville Forward, hundreds of volunteers in the community have helped identify shared economic opportunities, helped determine our economic plan, and completed a variety of projects that have enhanced Fayetteville’s economic vitality, such as the creation of the Gallery Guide and Local Foods Guide, policy support for the Green Economy, Heritage Tourism, and Inclusion of all residents. I ask that the FFEAC continue as a community volunteer organization that sponsors and manages projects, initiatives, and ideas that promote a vibrant economy for Fayetteville, meeting quarterly and making appropriate policy recommendations.
Our local economy has continued to grow in 2014, and two factors should help continue that trend in 2015. The recent drop in fuel prices to less than $2.00 per gallon has allowed our residents to expand their budget in other areas and live a more full life while also helping city revenues when they shop and buy local. Another beneficial development was the overwhelming vote of the people for an overdue raise in the state minimum wage, providing more disposable income for hundreds of hourly workers who need it most.
While business decisions on location and expansion are ultimately the purview of the private sector, we must redouble our efforts to help grow good jobs in our City across every sector -- in tech, biotech and cleantech green jobs, in conservation and alternative energy, in tourism, in the arts, in retail goods and professional services that serve the needs of our community, in advanced manufacturing and construction, education, and in high quality health care -- all growing parts of our diverse economy, creating good-paying jobs for people from every background. Together we must seek ways that our local government policies might improve market access, transportation, telecommunications infrastructure, the education and skill level of the workforce, access to capital for start-ups and expansions, and the availability of affordable locations and facilities.
We processed 570 new business license applications and 2,569 renewal applications in 2014. For several years we have contracted for economic development assistance, but we have missed important opportunities, and I believe we can and must do more to be competitive in growing our local economy. I plan to appoint a Mayor’s Council of Economic Advisers to work with me to enhance our efforts in economic development and pursue a city economic strategy that focuses on whole sectors of small businesses in emerging industries - from technology to green jobs, from food exports to local foods, from health services to advanced manufacturing to develop a new
approach and increased efforts to help grow companies that can generate good jobs at decent wages, actively collaborating with and drawing on the resources of the community and the educational and research institutions in the city.
While we will seek to more effectively recruit and grow new businesses, we won't lose sight of the existing businesses, industries, and institutions that have made us the regional center of commerce and culture and that have been the traditional drivers of job growth in our city. We must seek and provide better opportunities for enhanced collaboration to grow local and existing small businesses and manufacturers. This includes drawing on the resources of the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Research and Technology Park, the GENESIS Technology Incubator, and The ARK Challenge to further encourage good ideas to become productive realities in our local economy.
We will conduct a survey of business owners and employees to determine any necessary changes in our development code and process that can help businesses thrive and expand without undermining our smart growth policies. We will propose changes to the development codes to encourage existing vacant commercial buildings to be utilized for small-scale, light manufacturing businesses including micro-breweries. Discussions with small business owners indicate that there is a need for space for small start-up manufacturing businesses.
The City launched the State’s first Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program in December 2014. PACE will benefit Fayetteville by creating jobs and stimulating the economy, generating significant economic development, protecting citizens from the rising cost of electricity and non- renewable fuels, providing citizens with options for financing improvements that are otherwise not available, providing a positive cash flow on energy improvements, increasing the value of real property, improving the state’s air quality, conserving natural resources, and promoting energy independence and security for the local economy.
Building Our Infrastructure
We built this City on hard work, smart thinking, active citizen participation, and a strong public infrastructure.
Strategic investment in infrastructure produces a foundation for long- term smart growth, and our people deserve to see where their dollars are going and what infrastructure is being built.
We have continued to do more with less by securing all revenues available, exploring investment partnerships, embracing technology, making organizational changes that eliminate overlapping roles, and wisely managing
expenses. We are committed to the proposition that if we make city government more efficient, we make our community more sustainable.
In August of 2014, Fayetteville was certified as a 3-STAR Community and is now recognized nationally for community sustainability leadership. The Fayetteville community can be proud that we are the first community in Arkansas, and one of the first in the southern United States, to be certified as a STAR Community. The STAR Community Rating System is the nation’s first comprehensive framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability; encompassing economic, environmental and social performance measures. Local leaders use the rating system’s evaluation measures to assess their current level of sustainability, set targets for moving ahead, and measure progress along the way.
We completed construction of the long-anticipated Highway 71B flyover bridge project, completed the widening of Garland Avenue, began construction on Van Asche Drive Extension, began construction on Razorback Road, began construction on Huntsville Road, completed the design and secured approval for restoration of the historic bridges on Maple and Lafayette streets, and began the design on Rupple Road and Zion Road. We are installing median trees on the recently completed street improvement projects on Crossover Road and Garland Avenue.
We will complete revisions to the Minimum Street Standards and present it to the City Council for approval. We will begin construction of the Old Wire Road and Mission Boulevard intersection by mid-2015. We will begin construction of the Rupple Road extension by mid-2015, restoration of the Maple and Lafayette Street Historic Bridges begins construction in 2015, and we will begin construction of Zion Road by the end of 2015.
The City’s civic facility and parking deck construction on Spring Street is in progress with an anticipated completion date of October 2015, planned with and overlapping the Walton Arts Center’s $20 million expansion project. We continue to have positive benefits of having a paid parking program. It is not just generating revenue, it manages the flow of traffic and parking patterns that encourage people to visit the Downtown and Entertainment District areas and has opened up more parking availability for businesses and patrons.
We increased sidewalk construction to an all-time high of 21,449 linear feet, continuing our goals for improving school zone safety and better connectivity by linking segments of sidewalks throughout the City of Fayetteville. Major projects this year included Armstrong Avenue, Huntsville Road, Leverett Avenue, Sang Avenue, and Halsall Road, and we are beginning the design for the planned College Avenue improvements to begin in 2015, with construction in 2016.
Fayetteville now offers more than 50 miles of trails for all skill levels, with
We completed 3.5 miles of new paved trails, including all Fayetteville sections of the Razorback Regional Greenway, 3 miles of new
on-street bikeways and 2.5 miles of new bike lanes. Fayetteville received a bronze Bicycle Friendly Business designation in 2014 and a
In 2015, we will construct an additional three miles of trails for segments of Town Branch and Clabber Creek Trails. We use only energy- saving LED lighting along new trails.
We replaced or installed over 9,100 feet of water pipe and replaced or installed over 2,700 feet of sewer pipe, thereby providing reliable water and sewer services, better water pressure, and a safe water supply for homes and businesses. The Baxter and Mount Sequoyah storage tanks are scheduled for refurbishment in 2015.
Fayetteville Water Works is now on reduced monitoring because past sample results for lead and copper have been well below the MCL. The West Side wastewater treatment facility is 100% compliant with the NPDES Discharge Monitoring requirements, while the Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant will report only three technical excursions due to a sampling/analysis error. In regard to air regulation compliance, ADEQ inspectors found the City to be in full compliance with applicable air emission regulations during the 2014 audit. Thirty City employees received new or next level Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Solid Waste Operator Licenses.
The City of Fayetteville received recognition as an Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality ENVY Award finalist for natural channel stream restoration projects. We completed the new Drainage Criteria Manual, which includes a Chapter on Low Impact Development and new requirements for water quality and protection of property downstream from developments. We will do drainage improvements in the Washington Willow Historic District in 2015 at the upper Scull Creek area. We will begin City Plan 2035 during the summer of 2015. We will also be working to finalize a solid waste reduction, diversion, and recycling master plan.
We removed 10.84 tons of litter along city streets, and our street sweeping program removed over 1,300 tons of debris from City streets in 2014. This reduced the potential contamination of streams and other waterways throughout the city. We continued enhancement of the snow and ice control program by constantly updating equipment and materials.
The City of Fayetteville committed one million dollars toward the infrastructure cost for the Houses at Willow Bend in the 2015 through 2019 capital improvement plans. The second phase of the Wedington Neighborhood Plan rezonings has been completed. We adopted and will implement the 2014
multiple trail systems.
bronze award from
the 2014 IMBA Model Trail Awards for outstanding mountain bike trails and
National Electric Code for both commercial and residential construction. We processed and approved 755 building permits, including 1,229 new dwelling units and 513,565 square feet of non-residential space through the Planning Commission or administrative approval. We installed 52 access ramps to fully comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Code Compliance provided timely response to over 3,000 requests for service in 2014 to ensure a healthy and vibrant community.
We will continue to update the City’s UDC and Growth and Development Policies—starting the update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan 2030 with the adoption of a new plan in 2016. We will implement further action steps and ordinances from City Plan 2030 and our adopted neighborhood master plans.
City staff have actively pursued grant opportunities to supplement existing funds to increase infrastructure and services for the public. In that, we again have been very successful this year. We received new federal-aid transportation funding totaling $3.2 million for federal fiscal years 2014 and 2015. We were awarded over $585,000 through the Community Development Block Grant Program to provide housing rehabilitation, redevelopment, transportation and sub-recipient grants. The Community Development Transportation Program assisted 218 Fayetteville residents in the Taxi Program and Transit Program. The Housing Rehabilitation Program completed 29 rehabilitation projects, and the Redevelopment Program assisted another eight homeowners.
The Fayetteville Housing Authority did an excellent job renovating Hillcrest Towers, which improves the quality of life for its residents and makes improvements to our City’s skyline.
The City secured a $1.5 million matching grant from Walton Family Foundation, a $300,000 donation from the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, and a conservation easement from the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust, and we successfully negotiated an important contribution to our infrastructure with the acquisition of 376 acres at Mount Kessler to preserve, protect, and provide access to this important ecological asset. Moreover, we completed a trailhead and new trail connections at Mount Kessler.
We also received a Walton Family Foundation grant for $150,000 for the engineering and design of the Cato Springs Trail south from the Town Branch Trail to the new Regional Park and Kessler Mountain Reserve and a grant for $815,000 for the construction of the Town Branch Trail from Walker Park east through Greathouse Park to the intersection with Tsa La Gi trail adjacent to Interstate 49. The City Council also approved the purchase of a 10.95 acre parcel of land adjacent to Gulley Park for expanding the park, with funding assistance from the Walton Family Foundation and Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association.
More than 750 native trees and shrubs were given away to city residents, providing them a hands-on opportunity for growing and maintaining our urban forest. A Keep America Beautiful / UPS Foundation Tree Planting Grant helped establish the City of Fayetteville’s first community orchard.
We constantly look at improvements to make our public services more convenient and user friendly, and we have significantly increased customer service training in 2014. We look for ways to perform our tasks more efficiently in order to further save tax dollars. We have achieved success in this area in 2014, and we will continue growth in that success in 2015.
The City has worked diligently to increase public accessibility, increase staff customer service skills, and encourage public input on ways we as the municipal government can make Fayetteville stronger and assist us in identifying areas of needed repair. We also have increased our public education efforts and developed ways to further inform the public about Fayetteville and City services. We have provided additional information and online services on the City website, expanded our pay-online options on our website, and purchased a new content management system that will provide the public with a more user-friendly and audience-centered website for providing public services 24/7. The City’s GIS division created My Fayetteville Services, an online portal to information important to neighborhood associations, residents, and businesses.
The Wastewater Treatment Division has saved about $600,000 in public funds by using the biosolids drying operation as compared to landfilling costs. In-house engineering this year has saved $200,000. Energy management during peak demand periods have resulted in a savings of over $300,000. Wastewater Treatment prevented nearly 96% of the biosolids generated from being disposed of in a landfill, reducing costs ($600,000) and truck travel (200,000 miles).
The City Facilities Management division has made great improvements to your public buildings and renovated, built, and remodeled facilities with excellent craftsmanship by our City employees. This division saved taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars by utilizing our staff in design, carpentry, painting, flooring, ceilings, heat and air, and electrical on our renovation, addition and maintenance projects. The savings result from eliminating consultant fees, overhead, profit, and general conditions that would be charged by a General Contractor or Construction Manager. The services performed by our dedicated staff not only has saved the City monies, but also provides a clean, safe work environment for all City employees and for the public.
Facilities Management has been separating metals out of construction debris, selling outdated tools and equipment on Gov-Deals, replacing defective
HVAC units with more efficient units as needed, replacing defective light fixtures with LED as needed, and replacing defective water heaters with more efficient tankless heaters.
We changed lighting in the Meadow Street Parking Deck to energy efficient LED lights. The City had an energy efficient lighting upgrade at the Recycling & Trash Division that will save over $4,500 per year in electricity and maintenance costs, and we implemented Utility Bill Management Software to better track and reduce utility usage for over 400 monthly utility accounts related to the City. We completed a “no cost’ light fixture de-lamping project in the airport terminal that is expected to save $677 annually and additional lighting improvements are planned for 2015.
We have improved methods to pay utility bills, which has reduced the number of customers facing cut-off. Customers can now also pay a reconnection fee online, which has assisted with top customer service and satisfaction primarily due to the convenience.
In recognition of our dedication to accountability and efficiency, the City’s department of finance received the Government’s Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting. Moreover, the City of Fayetteville’s Fleets are rated in the top 50 Leading Fleets in the nation.
Building Our Community
The anthropologist Margaret Mead said a city must have a soul that brings past and present together, and it must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know. That is Fayetteville.
Fayetteville is unique and unlike any place in the world, this is in large part because of our proud history and active present --and because of the people who make Fayetteville the great city that it is. Fayetteville is the city on the hill, and I like to think of that as a metaphor to the heights of goodness that run through our City like the slopes, ridges, and curves of the great Ozark Mountains. We have been known for our compassion, openness, free spirit, innovation, academic propensity, and respect for all people; and in our present and future we will continue to hold those mountain-top values.
Fayetteville has been designated as a Compassionate Community, and one reason for that became obvious as we initiated an important and valuable community conversation that educated not just our community but our State. Important discussions about opportunity and fairness have taken place that reflect our commitment to help secure the promise of life, safety, liberty, opportunity, justice, equality, and the pursuit of happiness for all. We are not a divided city like some argue, but what is revealed by the recent debates and
conversations about the City’s Civil Rights Ordinance is that we are still Fayetteville—a vibrant community that welcomes open dialog about important issues.
I firmly believe that all of our residents are committed to equality and non-discrimination, and we have listened as some raised concerns about the specifics of the proposed ordinance. Let us address those issues, listen to the people, make the necessary technical changes, and craft a better ordinance for all in the future. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The time is always right to do what is right."
The City of Fayetteville is extremely grateful for the immense community support, and it is clear why we were named a Volunteer Community of the Year for the sixth consecutive year. We could not have done all we did without the generous participation of residents, from the Boy Scouts’ trail construction to recycling education volunteerism. In the last reporting year, more than 36,000 volunteers gave over 685,000 hours of service to the community, which created an economic impact of almost 15.5 million dollars. Our outstanding public library recorded more than 12,000 volunteer hours. Fayetteville Volunteers spent 1,391 hours removing non-native invasive plant species and planting natives in Fayetteville parks, a value of $36,830. Volunteers donated 5,574 hours, a value of $125,415, to the Parks and Recreation Adopt-A-Park and Adopt-A-Trail programs this year. The SEFCC 3rd Annual Celebrate Our Kids banquet raised $15,000 to maintain YRCC free programming, and donations will assist Parks and Recreation to replace the YRCC gym flooring in 2015, as well as upgrade gym lighting fixtures with LED lighting--a saving estimated at $40,000. The Yvonne Richardson Community Center also received five grants totaling $32,500.
Our Community Development division organized with community partners the fourth annual FEST of ALL—a celebration of the many cultures of the Ozarks and provides an opportunity for exposure to many individuals, organizations, groups, performers, artists and others in our region.
We are blessed with outstanding educational opportunities. The completion of the new Fayetteville High School campus will assure that we have the best public school system in the state, including all of our public schools and the public charter school. The continued enrollment growth at the University of Arkansas reflects our historic role in higher education as well as the University’s goal to become a Top 50 public research university by 2021.
The Fayetteville Public Library circulations have increased by almost 2%, with digital items up 24%, and the use of 60+ online databases is up almost 30% from last year.
In 2014, the Fayetteville Public Library provided civic services such as tax forms, affordable healthcare insurance information, including online application assistance, and voter information such as ballot issue detail sheets, voting locations and sample ballots. Almost 1,400 people have attended 29 financial literacy events. Over 3,000 people attended events during the 5-day “True Lit” Fayetteville Literary Festival. The Library also hosted the largest ever FPL summer reading program for children, teens and adults, with nearly 5,000 registrants and over 18,000 people attending events; and hosted notable and award-winning authors.
Public planning and input sessions have confirmed the need for our library to expand its facilities and services to serve the entire community. I ask that all residents of our community come together and support the expansion and operations funding necessary for the task.
To address a few of the local food security concerns and give citizens better access to fresh, local food, the Fayetteville City Council passed a comprehensive Urban Agriculture Ordinance. The Yvonne Richardson Community Center created a Pantry Day every third Friday of the month in which they give youth care packages to take home consisting of snacks, food, hygiene products, and/or clothing.
The City expanded production and training opportunities for Public Access Television users. The City’s public information video selections on YouTube have increased. All the meeting video programming is available from the City’s other VOD service provider, Granicus, which had over 21,000 unique visitors who watched meetings over 24,000 times in 2014.
Additional public art was added to the City, including “The Recycling Tree” by artist John Stalling located on the Skull Creek trail adjacent to the Marion Orton Recycling Drop-Off Center. Our GIS division created a wonderful map of the public art in Fayetteville that is informative and extremely useful and, like My Fayetteville Services, it is easy to use. We worked with the University of Arkansas Extension Service on a region-wide “Upstream Art” project painting storm drain inlets for educational awareness of storm water pollution and painted five new lids in Downtown Fayetteville.
We completed the renovation of Wilson Park Swimming Pool buildings, including the dressing rooms and office areas. We have done extensive renovations to the Walker Park baseball complex over the last four years, with the concession stand renovation completion occurring in 2014.
YRCC offered a free 7-week summer camp, called Summer Fun 4 Kids camp, that provided 81 children with fun activities, food, and transportation. We completed the construction of the Mount Sequoyah Gardens overlook area to offer a passive recreation neighborhood park.
We installed a new interpretive sign in Wilson Park about the history of Wilson Park. The City also added a new About Fayetteville section on our website, providing historic and present information about Fayetteville, Arkansas. The City Council provided funding for the preservation of the historic antebellum Woolsey Homestead.
Our municipal Animal Shelter continued to have a low euthanasia rate throughout 2014; currently it is at 9.6%. We achieved a 9% increase in returning pets to owners over 2013 numbers, which is up for the second year in a row.
Ranger’s Pantry continues to help citizens experiencing financial hardship with pet food so they don’t have to surrender pets to the shelter due to the inability to feed them. In 2014, Ranger’s Pantry distributed over 15,000 pounds of pet food to 643 pets. We received a $4,000 grant from ASPCA for our Ranger’s Pantry program. Ranger’s Pantry hit a milestone recently. Since opening in 2010, Ranger’s Pantry has now distributed over 100,000 pounds of pet food to Fayetteville residents. This distribution of food has allowed more than 3,000 pets to stay with their families.
A fourth sand volleyball court was added at Veterans Memorial Park to accommodate the sand volleyball league. There was record participation in soccer, volleyball, kickball, BeActive camps, YRCC Summer Fund4Kids, Dive-in Movies, Junior Tennis and Wilson Park Swimming Pool attendance in 2014. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department added 9 benches to our parks and trails through our bench donation program. We constructed ADA parking and sidewalk access at Wilson Park pool.
We continued production and support for the award-winning Recycle Something media campaign. We also developed and produced a media campaign for the Fayetteville Alert System, which resulted in an extensive awareness of the emergency alert system, indicated by both the number of enrollments and the amount of feedback regarding the system and the media campaign.
The City updated the community videos on our website and digitized and updated the City’s logo and seal. We significantly updated the working list of neighborhood organizations and updated webpage content about neighborhood resources, including the popular My Fayetteville Services mapping information portal on the City’s website. City of Fayetteville Facebook has close to 10,000 Facebook contacts and certain City divisions have seen active Facebook or other social media participation by the public. We also completed installation of remote recording technology in City Hall Rooms 111 and 326.
We now have electronic routing of agenda items, and scanning and emailing documents by the City Clerk’s Office has created a large savings and reduced copy costs from more than $10,000 per year in 2004 to around $2,000 per year in 2014. We increased the number of vehicles that run on propane to reduce fuel costs, also saving taxpayer money. We implemented virtual extra bag stickers for residential trash customers through the billing system. This will save about $13,000 annually in avoiding printing and mailing costs. Through the use of micro surfacing products we will save 35% of the cost of using only Asphalt products over the life of a paved street.
We are progressing with the Recycling and Trash Collection Facility expansion, and we expanded the apartment recycling program. We increased commercial glass recycling collection to midtown and uptown businesses and are now recycling glass in partnership with over 50 businesses, and we also expanded the business curb sort recycling program to 265 businesses. We installed 24 public space recycling containers on the City Square, Walker Park and Gary Hampton Parks for recycling of bottles and cans from these locations.
We started recycling scrap metal from the Transfer Station to increase diversion. We added E-waste recycling to the Ward Bulky Waste Cleanup program and recycled over 25 tons of e-waste in the fall of 2014. 1,400 coupons were redeemed from the community for the E-waste coupon program with Boston Mountain Solid Waste District and Washington County for the recycling of e-waste items for Fayetteville residents. We provided and expanded education signage and services at the Marion Orton Recycling Drop Off Center, which is averaging 350 customers each week. We completed the Pay-As-You- Throw waste savings project in which 8 families documented their weekly waste habits and results were posted on our website and in social media for education about the program.
In 2015, we will see construction of Phase I of the Regional Park. We will be prioritizing park and trail maintenance with an emphasis on safety and heavily-used areas. We will be creating metrics to measure invasive species removal through the Park Volunteer Program. We will be utilizing the Media Services division and new webpage to promote our volunteer program and increase participation in our Adopt-a-park and Adopt-a-trail programs. We will develop a business-based monetary/in kind sponsorship program for the Adopt-A programs in order to provide volunteers with refreshments on time and labor intensive work days. Parks and GIS will work together to map and inventory parks assets, such as benches, trash cans, doggie pots, etc. using GPS coordinates.
We will streamline the application process to make creating a community garden through the Community Gardens in the Parks program easier. We will be utilizing volunteers from the Fayetteville Disc Golf Association to complete a disc golf course in Walker Park. We will utilize online registration, along with a

public kiosk at the Parks office to eliminate paper registrations and minimize data input time by staff. We will create a 2015 Activities Guide to be distributed and displayed for maximum viewing and minimize waiting lists as to allow all interested participants to be able to participate in any desired program. We will have continued improvements to all our City’s parks and improve the marketing of programs and services to the public.
The City will launch a new website in March. The division of Media Services will lead the project to completely upgrade and renovate the A/V and presentation systems for City Hall Rooms 111, 219, and 326. We will be upgrading the production and distribution systems at the Television Center to High Definition, fully digital systems, bringing the installation to par with current television technology. We will also have an onsite alternative fueling station of propane in 2015 and increase vehicles and mowers that run on propane.
2014 was another productive year for Fayetteville’s public services and infrastructure, and we are now in 2015, a year in which we will continue to work together for Fayetteville’s future.
Fayetteville’s strength is in her people, and I praise tonight the excellent work by our municipal employees who regularly maintain public services and infrastructure while increasing programs and opportunities.
I praise Fayetteville businesses and residents for working together to continue building this great City on a hill together. I praise and thank the many educators and health providers in Fayetteville for providing opportunity, knowledge, health, and jobs. I praise and thank the many non-profit entities and those who work each day in them to secure a better life for many. I praise and thank the many volunteers in Fayetteville for providing the community with over 685,000 hours of volunteer work.
Together, we have made wise investments and bold moves. Together we will continue to lead our city to become all that we want for our neighbors and our community. Together, and only together, we can build on our successes of last year and have an even brighter future for ourselves and our children. 

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