2014 Annual Report

Administration

The administration department is comprised of the city manager, the human resources manager and the clerk of council/administrative coordinator.  Under the city manager, the administration department provides professional leadership in the execution of City Council policies and the day-to-day management of the City.  The department is responsible for overseeing the coordination and direction of all City services on a daily basis, provides direct support to Montgomery City Council and serves as a liaison between the City of Montgomery and other organizations.

Organizational Workforce and Structure

One of the biggest changes in 2014 was the retirement of personnel with significant years of work experience with the City.   This list included:  Frank Davis, community development director (14 years of service); Susan Hamm, clerk of council/administrative coordinator, who, in September of 2014, announced her plans to retire in February 2015 (31 years of service);  and Dave Reuther, police officer, who also will retire in February of 2015 (25 years of service).   Losing this level of experience can disrupt a small organization, but with succession planning in place, the City was prepared to fill each of the vacancies with trained and qualified staff, including Tracy Roblero as the community development director and Connie Gaylor as the clerk of council/administrative coordinator. In addition to the succession of personnel identified above, several staff members received promotions through hiring processes to fill vacancies in 2014.   This list includes: John Crowell as the City’s police lieutenant; Ben Shapiro as the City’s assistant fire chief; and Kevin Gruber and Mike Davenport as the City’s newest police sergeants. Finally, the City completed Goal #3 of the City’s 2011 – 2016 Strategic Plan, Organizational Structure and Workforce.   The City has undertaken several succession planning steps including the consolidation of the community engagement and customer service departments as well as the public works department’s absorption of the recreation function in the City’s organizational structure.   With these changes, the City has staff in the appropriate places for service delivery in both the short and long terms and for responsibility and opportunities for growth and development.   The objective with this goal, as with any other action of the City, is to enhance value to the customers of the City.

Gateway Redevelopment Area (GRA)

Chevy building demolitionMore will be reported throughout the 2014 Annual Report on the Gateway Redevelopment Area project; however, it is important to note that the City acquired 11.5 acres of land (2.7 acres of land are still in stages for the final transaction to be completed with Hamilton County) at the crossroads of Montgomery Road and Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway in three different land transactions.   These acquisitions served as the centerpiece of an Open House held in the month of November for Montgomery citizens. Combining citizen input with the vision of City Council, Planning Commission and Landmarks Commission led to a vision for an integrated, mixed-use project that is compatible and complementary in scale and design to the adjacent historic district and sensitive to the real estate market to ensure long-term viability.  It is envisioned that the development will include some amount of structured parking, an emphasis on a pedestrian-oriented streetscape and a mix of two-to three-story office and commercial buildings, including family-friendly restaurants, with a complementary residential component. Some of the key milestones for this important project for the City are presented below:

  • The purchase of the former Ford site (9260 Montgomery Road) was completed in April and a buyout of the William’s Used Vehicles dealership lease was completed by year end.
  • The City purchased the former Chevrolet building and property (9292 Montgomery Road) in June.
  • On November 11, the City held an Open House to gather input and ideas regarding the Gateway Redevelopment Area from residents and others interested in the project with approximately 80 in attendance.
  • Demolition of the Chevrolet site was expedited, and bid out, with Evans Landscaping being the contractor selected with a bid of $62,800 (with $15,000 in contingencies).   The demolition began on December 11, 2014 and was expected to be substantially completed in January 2015.
  • The purchase of 2.7 acres from Hamilton County is still pending but is anticipated to be completed early in 2015.
  • Staff also applied for Community Development Block Grant Funds and expects to hear on the awarding of these funds by the end of February 2015.   If awarded, these funds may be used for the demolition of the Ford site.

Visit from French Sister City: Neuilly-Plaisance

 

Neuilly-Plaisance Delegation in front of Neuilly-Plaisance Plaza in Montgomery OhioDuring the week of October 12 through 18, the City hosted 19 French delegates from Montgomery’s Sister City, Neuilly-Plaisance, France. The delegates included four deputy mayors, two municipal councilors, a municipal advisor, two deputy general directors of city services, an educational advisor, a director and assistant director of culture and events, principal of agricultural college, an English professor at the College of Neuilly-Plaisance, an executive assistant to the secretary of the mayor, and the Graveleine family. The exchange delegates visited Sycamore Community Schools and University of Cincinnati Blue Ash as they participated in tours and conversations about area educational systems. They also learned about programs for our senior population during a visit to Twin Lakes.  The French visitors were also treated to several cultural opportunities during their visit including a trip to Carillon Park in Dayton and a trip to Keeneland Race Track in Lexington. The visit was an overwhelming success for the representatives from Neuilly-Plaisance to experience our great community and the part of America that is the southwest Ohio region.

Shared Service Opportunities

The City continued to pursue shared services opportunities in the following areas:

  • The fiber optics partnership project with Sycamore Schools enhanced City computer and technology services for the Public Works facilities by connecting City Hall’s IT infrastructure to Montgomery Elementary and then connecting the Public Works building to Sycamore High School. This project also added redundancy to the IT network for both organizations.
  • myCommuniTree.com is another example of a shared service. This website was created as a joint social media communications portal between the City, Sycamore Community Schools and the City of Blue Ash and was presented as a case study at the 2014 Transforming Local Government Conference for the Alliance For Innovation (AFI).
  • The City partnered with the City of Blue Ash for street maintenance and information sharing on winter weather operations.
  • The Public Works Department also took on some of the maintenance at the I-275/Montgomery Road intersection. This effort was done in partnership with ODOT, Sycamore Township and Symmes Township to maintain the I-275 overpass area on Montgomery Road from Weller Road to Vintage Club Boulevard to include street sweeping, cleaning of medians and mowing of identified areas around the overpass.

The City’s shared services pursuits demonstrate commitment to regional leadership and stewardship for all of the taxpayers in the region and the State.

Strategic Planning

In 2014, steady progress was made on the City’s 2011 – 2016 Strategic Plan.  The five-year plan encompasses six major goal areas: Economic Development, Finance, Organizational Structure and Workforce, Community Engagement, Quality of Life and Facilities.  Each major goal area is led by a team of “owners” from staff who are tasked with carrying out well-defined implementation steps designed to accomplish the goals and strategies The City’s progress on its Strategic Plan goals at the end of 2014 is summarized below:

  • Goal 1 – 85% Complete
  • Goal 2 – 85% Complete
  • Goal 3 – 100% Complete
  • Goal 4 – 75% Complete
  • Goal 5 – 85 % Complete
  • Goal 6 – 70 % Complete

Clearly Goal #3 has been completed and the remaining five goals are nearing completion as we head into the final 22 months of the City’s plan, and as we begin the process for the City’s 2016 – 2021 Plan.     Some of the highlights of the accomplishments in 2014 include the following:

  • Completion of organizational restructuring;
  • Development of a draft of the City facilities master plan;
  • Recommendation on financial management software;
  • Continued successes with business calling, volunteerism and overall citizen engagement with the seventh Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy (MCLA) session, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Making a Difference Day, and support of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce.

In 2014, the City also began preparations for the upcoming strategic planning process for the 2016 – 2021 Strategic Plan including a plan for its five-year survey of citizens.

Community Engagement

Volunteers on making a difference dayAs emphasized in the preceding section, community engagement continued to be a focus of the City of Montgomery.   The Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy graduated its seventh class, reaching a total of 180 graduates since the Academy was initiated in 2008.   In addition to the Academy, which continues to develop leaders and volunteers throughout the community, the City continued to call on local businesses, reaching out to a total of 52 businesses in 2014 with meetings and 92 dental or medical practices received a business packet with up to 2 follow-up phone calls.   City staff was also actively engaged with other institutions throughout the community including the Montgomery Farmers’ Market, Sycamore Community Schools, the Montgomery Ministerial Association and the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and a host of other civic organizations.

Achievements

The City of Montgomery was formally recognized for a number of achievements in 2014.  Highlights include the following: The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) awarded the City the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013. This is a great honor for the City of Montgomery, as it is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.   2014 represents the 19th consecutive year the City has received this award. The City received the Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District “Best Community Recycling Program” Award (more than 10,000 residents) for the fifth year in a row, reflecting the importance that the City, and the community’s citizens and businesses, place on recycling efforts, as well as indicating the City’s initiative to reduce waste and positively impact our environment. The Miami Valley Risk Management Association (MVRMA) completed the 2013/2014 Safety Performance Evaluation Checklist (SPEC) assessment of the City of Montgomery’s safety program and loss control measures resulting in a 100% compliance rating with the safety compliance checklist. Once again, the City received a Tree City USA Award and a Growth Award. This marks the 19th consecutive year for the Tree City USA recognition and the 16th Growth Award the City has received since 1998. For the fourth consecutive year, the City of Montgomery received the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) platinum award for “astounding” success within the area of traffic safety. In 2014, the City also continued its role in regards to leadership regionally, at the State level and nationally.  To this end, several City staff members contributed and will continue to contribute their resources, over and above their primary job responsibilities, to a variety of professional organizations.   The following is only a partial listing of the groups to which City staff contributed:

  • Brian Riblet, public works director, is the 2nd Vice President of the Public Works Officers Association of Southwest Ohio (PWOSO);
  • Paul Wright, fire chief, is the President of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association (OFCA);
  • Don Simpson, police chief, is the 1st Vice President of the Hamilton County Police Association (HCPA);
  • Kelly Beach, assistant finance director/tax commissioner, is a member of the Southwest Ohio Tax Administrators Association (SWOTAA);
  • Matthew Vanderhorst, community and information services director, provided a leadership role to the National Association of Government Web Professionals;
  • John Crowell, police lieutenant, is Commander of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team in Hamilton County;
  • Ben Shapiro, assistant fire chief, is Operations Officer for the Hamilton County Arson Investigation Unit; and
  • Wayne Davis, city manager, is a board member for the Ohio City/County Management Association.

Clearly, 2014 continued the City’s trend of outstanding value for the community it serves.  The City is positioned to carry forward its tradition of maintaining financial stability, fostering community engagement and seeking innovation in outstanding customer service delivery – all with an eye on delivering value to our customers who are the citizens, businesses, visitors and institutions which make up our community.