Metropolis commissioners heard shows from almost a dozen metropolis officers throughout a “State of the Metropolis” particular work session on Monday.
Metropolis Supervisor Greg Doyon requested officers to stipulate their division’s challenges and what they want to accomplish in 2022.
Doyon outlined a few of the metropolis’s present challenges as the continued COVID-19 pandemic; figuring out how one can prioritize federal funds obtained via the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Coronavirus Assist, Reduction, and Financial Safety Act (CARES); and managing massive tasks just like the Intention Excessive Large Sky Aquatic and Recreation Heart.
He noticed alternatives in working with the fee to adapt a few of the suggestions from the Crime Job Pressure. He additionally mentioned there was a possibility to organize the town for potential progress.
“I am not speaking Bozeman progress, I am simply speaking possibly a bit of bit extra progress than what we’re usually used to,” Doyon mentioned.
He mentioned Nice Falls was Montana’s “finest stored secret” in being one of the crucial inexpensive massive cities within the state.
“I can not assist however assume that in time when that secret will get out, that there is going to be extra curiosity in transferring right here.”
Lengthy-range complete planning was an space Director of Planning and Neighborhood Improvement Craig Raymond mentioned the town wanted to work on throughout his presentation.
“If you do not know what sort of group you wish to turn out to be, the way you wish to get there? The place do you wish to develop? How a lot it is gonna price? I believe, truthfully, you are simply sort of ready for good issues to occur,” Raymond mentioned.
Raymond mentioned that lack of particular imaginative and prescient makes it tough for builders which can be coming into the group and metropolis departments attempting to supply providers, although he admitted it isn’t straightforward to provide you with. He gave examples just like the sizes of pipes wanted to finish tasks and the way a lot they’d price and what that may require of various departments.
“Truthfully, it is robust, as a result of once more, it is one other challenge that takes loads of time and an incredible quantity of monetary assets to finish it,” he mentioned.
He mentioned his division is engaged on a minor change to the expansion coverage and intends to complete it this yr.
Commissioner Rick Tryon commented that he, too, believes that the town is due for main work on the expansion coverage. Commissioner Eric Hinebauch requested how that course of would get began, to which Doyon mentioned that the town used to have a full time worker devoted to updating the expansion coverage, an almost two-year course of, however that the place was by no means stuffed once more as a result of funds constraints.
The final main replace to the town’s Development Plan was published in 2013.
Doyon mentioned that communities sometimes rent consultants to assist with the majority of the work and that employees may look into the worth of a possible marketing consultant for the fee.
Commissioners Joe McKenney and Susan Wolff echoed curiosity in increasing the expansion coverage.
Staffing shortages throughout departments
A number of division heads spoke concerning the impression of retirements and in some instances COVID-19 on present staffing, as has been highlighted throughout work periods all through the previous yr. To view all of the openings on the metropolis, go to https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/greatfallsmt.
Housing Authority Greg Sukut mentioned he’s not seeing as many candidates lately as there have been 15 to twenty years in the past. His division is attempting to fill a upkeep place.
“These jobs had been coveted, I imply, you would be swatting folks off like flies,” he mentioned.
Metropolis Legal professional Jeff Hindoien cited employees turnover as the most important problem dealing with the division, particularly with the lack of skilled employees like former Metropolis Legal professional Sara Sexe. Hindoien mentioned that the division has been understaffed for years, however that the prison division noticed a “power undersize” and has made it arduous for prosecutors to maintain up with their caseload. Nevertheless, he mentioned the division has excessive morale.
“That is in all probability the most effective group of individuals I’ve ever labored round within the quarter-century of being an lawyer,” Hindoien mentioned.
Public Works Director Paul Skubinna joked that he was creating a “cake downside,” averaging “a cake per week” with all of the retirements in his division. He mentioned recruitment and retention was a giant factor for them. He additionally echoed the challenges expressed over a shrinking applicant pool. Skubinna additionally mentioned he want to rent a metropolis engineer.
Police Chief Jeff Newton and Hearth Chief Jeremy Jones additionally mentioned their departments want extra assets for staffing.
Newton mentioned the Police Division is down six sworn officers and down 5 telecommunications dispatchers, “and that is simply attempting to maintain as much as get us again as much as full staffing on paper.”
Jones spoke to the getting older infrastructure on the hearth stations that’s in want of restore, citing 52 years of “put on and tear.” He additionally mentioned as the town is increasing, it could be essential to plan out extra stations to satisfy the general public security wants of recent developments.
“We’re two stations behind on this group and that is simply to get caught up,” Jones mentioned. “And that is not even going right into a strategic plan of actually, the place are we going after this?”
Medication and psychological well being episodes
Director of the Nice Falls Public Library Susie McIntyre spoke to how the library acts as a spot of refuge locally, which may typically be a spot the place folks with behavioral well being points come and employees isn’t all the time geared up to deal with conditions that occur.
“We’re actually working to attempt to construct group companions; we now have a group paramedic coming in a pair instances a month, we’re constructing relationships with folks, however it’s simply actually arduous,” McIntyre mentioned.
She mentioned a person got here in not too long ago and began licking bookmarks and different gadgets within the library. She mentioned they had been capable of persuade him to go away with out calling regulation enforcement however it was a lose-lose scenario the place somebody clearly wants assist.
Sukut of the Housing Authority mentioned psychological well being and drug use has impacted his division. He mentioned that individuals are evicted from housing in the event that they don’t comply with guidelines on drug use. He cited an incident the place a girl with psychological well being points was evicted and there was $25,000 in damages to the property.
Tryon requested almost each division head whether or not points they’re dealing with of their departments could be eligible for ARPA funding and to flag them for the fee for his or her continued conversations on how that cash ought to be spent.
Mayor Bob Kelly expressed appreciation for the employees’s arduous work.
“We actually respect the attitude that you have given us and it offers us rather a lot to consider earlier than they will go into this funds dialog,” Kelly mentioned.
Doyon mentioned the subsequent step could be getting fee steering over how they wished to coordinate a “planning retreat” to work on how one can transfer ahead after listening to from all of the departments and touring all through metropolis amenities.
The State of the Metropolis work session is on the market to observe on the city’s website.
This text initially appeared on Nice Falls Tribune: ‘State of the City’: Department leaders share vision for Great Falls