Commissioners Talk Partnerships At Retreat

In 2014 the Manhattan city commission is looking to strengthen regional partners, and provide a better road map for developers.

During the retreat on Thursday at the Discovery Center the commission, city staff, and other community leaders met to discuss the upcoming year.  High on the list of priorities was the city comprehensive plan.  Previous building developments failed the final litmus test to go forward, and commissioners hope to rectify some of the developmental hurdles for growth within the city.

Mayor John Matta says he’s looking for the comprehensive plan to help with such issues as parking within the city, and being able to make a regional effort to improve efficiency of municipal operations.

Commissioner Wynn Butler says he wants to have an extensive look at the processes involved in running the city, and seeing if they pass the muster on returns for expenditures.  Butler also wants to look at the operation of the Manhattan Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Eco-Devo fund, and the City-University fund to ensure the funds are being properly dispersed to relevant projects.

Commissioner Usha Reddi says she wants to look at how funding is provided to such entities as the social service advisory board.  Reddi states she does not want to cap the operations, but wants a better way to ascertain the services are receiving proper funding they need to conduct their mission within the community.

Commissioner Rich Jankovich says the commission should work  to ensure the city stays on top of the NBAF project, and staying in front of the issue saying “if we go silent, they go silent” in reference to state and national officials.  Jankovich wants street maintenance to be at the top of issue list, and trying to find a way to revitalize blighted neighborhoods within the city.

Commissioner Karen McCulloh says she puts the comprehensive plan as the most important item for 2014.  McCulloh says infrastructure needs some attention, and the city needs to understand the impact on the infrastructure with the increasing student population.  McCulloh also calls for more savings to the city through the use of technology for such items as water bills, and other systems within the community.

Director of finance Bernie Hayen gave a short presentation on the financials for the city, and gave out a warning that the governmental accounting standards board is unveiling new national standards which could have a negative effect on the city’s bond rating.  Hayen says there’s nothing to be done at the state level of legislators since it is being pushed from the federal on down to the city.