2016 Annual Report
Community and Information Services
The community and information services department is responsible for the planning and implementation of community engagement efforts, volunteer coordination, information technology services, front desk customer services and administrative support and services. The department also serves as the focal point for all City communications. The department is managed by a director, an administrative coordinator, a communications and engagement coordinator, a customer service representative and a volunteer coordinator. The department also works with a contracted director of citizen engagement. It is the daily goal of these staff members to deliver services that meet the City’s mission, with actions and behaviors consistent with the City’s values and leadership philosophy.
The Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy (MCLA) continued to be a popular activity for some of our most engaged citizens. Twenty-three residents became highly engaged citizens over the course of twelve weeks by diving deep into issues of local importance and gaining first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of local government and each of our partners: Sycamore Community Schools, Bethesda North Hospital, Twin Lakes Senior Living Community, and Ohio National Financial Services.
The MCLA Alumni gathered for the first-ever MCLA 2.0, “a graduate-level course” on April 14, 2016, at Maple Dale Elementary. With the assistance of Xavier University’s Community Building Institute, the City of Montgomery hosted 65 MCLA Alumni, Sycamore Community Schools’ officials, City Council members, and City staff to discuss the multiple, critical components involved in nationwide trends in housing including shared housing, inter-generational housing, and national best practices. City staff did a ‘deep-dive’ into Montgomery, regional, state and national demographics and how these changes impact future land use and the housing market. Input was gathered from the assembled group and integrated into the 2016-2021 Strategic Plan housing strategy.
In 2016, the newly-enhanced Service to the Community Grant was awarded to the Montgomery Farmers’ Market to create engaging programming for the many residents and visitors who shop locally at the Saturday morning Farmers’ Market. A second grant was awarded to Operation Give Back to expand the education programs to the Montgomery parents of the students they serve. These programs reinforce learning on life skills, self-help, goal setting, and achievement.
The community and information services staff, with participation from members of the police, fire, and community development departments, hosted two Neighborhood Leaders Forums, one in May and a second in October. The May forum focused on ‘aging in place’ and the services available to those who want to stay in Montgomery as they age. The October forum included a discussion on the many nationwide trends in housing including shared housing, intergenerational housing, and national best practices. Information was also shared about Montgomery, regional, state and national demographics and how these variables impact the housing market. This housing forum used much of the same information that was shared at the April MCLA 2.0 session but was made available to a wider audience.
In 2016, Swaim Lodge underwent a kitchen remodeling project that added amenities such as updated appliances and additional counter space to create a much more functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen. The meeting room and restrooms were updated with ceramic tile and new carpet. This remodeling project created added appeal for prospective renters and staff received much positive feedback.
In January of 2016, 21 volunteers prepared the holiday decorations for storage. In April, 21 volunteers assisted with basket planting, ten volunteers helped with the Arbor Day seedling bag and tag project and two volunteers assisted with tax office activities. In May, 55 volunteers participated in Beautification Day, and during two weeks in June, 41 volunteers helped make Safety Village a success for the future citizens of Montgomery. In July, 178 volunteers contributed hundreds of hours towards the success of the July 3 concert, July 4 festivities and Bastille Day, making these events the most successful events to date. The year was rounded out with 29 volunteers donating their time at Harvest Moon Festival, 62 volunteers assisted with the Holiday Decorating Workshop and Decorating Day and 15 volunteers helped with the Holiday in the Village event. In addition to all of these special events, volunteers also helped with weeding the butterfly garden in Pioneer Park, various front desk coverage needs, and office tasks.
In April of 2016, four exceptional volunteers were added to the Volunteer Walk of Fame. These honorees were Kathy Lonneman, Nancy Nolan, Todd Steinbrink and Jack Wild. This brick path, located in Montgomery Park, was created to recognize volunteers who have made substantial contributions to the City through their volunteer service.
The City continued to invest in improving its information technology infrastructure in 2016. In 2014, a partnership was created with Sycamore Community Schools to provide wide area network infrastructure and network engineering support. This partnership continues to grow as both organizations have discovered that they have similar technological challenges. For most of 2016, both organizations discussed common needs and the possibilities for growth regarding shared backup circuits to the Internet, shared staffing in the model of the School Resource Officer, application development, expanding broadband access to students in need, and other potential projects. These ideas will be vetted and prioritized in 2017 to allow for proper planning and budgeting.
During the summer of 2016, the City of Montgomery partnered with Protocol Communications to install fiber optic cabling to the Montgomery Community Pool and the Recreation Annex. This project has increased network reliability, bandwidth and has provided the opportunity to expand the security camera system to the Annex parking lot, a known trouble area.