CRM Quarterly Report January – March 2020

City Manager's Quarterly Report
Posted on 05/08/2020

City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney has been heavily involved in successfully leading and providing oversight for the City of Rocky Mount operations during this coronavirus pandemic.

I extend a special thank you to all City employees for their personal sacrifices, hard work and dedication. And I appreciate the way each of you individually and collectively have been involved in developing steps to continue to maintain a safe workplace and protect the health of employees, customers, and citizens. All departments have embraced and transitioned to "essential personnel only" operations, based on their emergency Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), to ensure that we continue to meet our customers' expectations.

Effective March 31, 2020, employees designated as essential by their departments were required to report to work. This order remains in effect until the executive order has been lifted, and ALL employees will continue to receive full salary and benefits while the order is in effect.

While all our operations have been impacted in many ways, some not as severely or obvious as others to the public, I urge all employees to continue practicing social distancing in order to limit the spread of the virus. During this pandemic, everyone should continue to use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings, when practical.

Again, I commend our employees as they too are threatened by the spread of the virus and relentlessly serve the public to the best of their abilities. I hope that everyone and their families remain safe and healthy.

City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney

Budget and Evaluation Office: Kenneth Hunter and staff successfully completed a second quarter forecast of revenues and expenditures for Fiscal Year 2020. A policy analyst was hired and is focused on drafting a housing strategic plan for the city and assisting the budget analysts as needed. The office continued analysis and cost of the Rocky Mount Event Center, oversaw development and review of the 2021-2025 Capital Improvement Program and the development of requests for FY 2021 Annual Budget. The office also prepared revised revenue forecasts to determine the financial impact of COVID-19 events.

Communications, Marketing and Public Relations Office: Consultant Dorothy Brown Smith and the office continued their rebranding efforts by completing branding of the Rocky Mount Sports Complex as well as the implementation of rebranding fleet vehicles. The office continues to reach internal and external stakeholders. More than 55,000 people have been reached via the city’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. Public utilities customers received the latest edition of My Rocky Mount Magazine, and the office disseminated seven editions of its external e-newsletter, City Beat.

To ensure our citizens are well-informed of the latest information regarding the coronavirus pandemic, the office launched a Citizen Resource Center on its website. “Our City at Work,” a campaign that highlights the work employees continue to do during the COVID-19 pandemic was implemented. The office has been instrumental in organizing new procedures for City Council meetings, utilizing Microsoft Teams for council members and staff as part of the city’s social distancing efforts. During the coronavirus pandemic, staff has also arranged a pair of press conferences featuring city of Rocky Mount leaders as well as health officials from Rocky Mount, Nash, and Edgecombe counties.

Energy Resources: Director Chris Beschler and staff hedged an additional 25% of gas supply through Fiscal Year 2024-25, bringing the total amount of gas hedged to 75%. The department also completed an update to its Operations and Maintenance Manual, which included an Emergency Response Plan. An improved training process was put in place for dispatchers and operators. A pipeline bridge attachment also was completed.

The department received several recognitions, including earning “Tree City USA” distinction for the 16th straight year and “Tree Line” city distinction for a 12th consecutive year. Rocky Mount also is one of just two cities in the country to achieve the American Public Power Association’s RP3 Diamond level recognition for six straight years. The award recognizes APPA members utilities that achieve excellence in the areas of reliability, safety, training, and system improvement.

Finance: Director Amy Staton and the department implemented a Local Preference Policy for procurement of eligible goods and services, which will support the local economy and businesses by providing an opportunity to price match when legally allowable. The department also took part in repair projects including the repainting of the pool at the Rocky Mount Senior Center, completing exterior and interior repairs to stair towers at City Hall, and refurbishing drive-thru windows at the Business Services Center.

The department has also been instrumental in reporting methods to capture personnel and supply costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Human Resources: Interim Director DeNaide Dickens and staff have kept abreast of COVID-19 compliance as it pertains to municipalities. The staff also completed a research and analysis project for the City Manager regarding personnel matters.
Internal Audit Office: The office responded and researched three employee complaints received and continues to assist the City Manager’s Office and Human Resource Director with employee interviews on personnel matters as well as the CMO’s office on a research and analysis project regarding personnel.

Technology Services: The Technology Services department has been instrumental in the implementation of Microsoft Teams as an outlet for staff and city council members to be part of Committee of the Whole and City Council meetings. Staff has also developed a city of Rocky Mount mobile application that will keep the public abreast of COVID-19 related information as well as future city news and events.

City Clerk’s Office: In compliance with North Carolina state law, City Clerk Pam Casey and staff continue to prepare agendas and give notices regarding City Council meetings. There have been six meetings during the first quarter of 2020, and the office prepared minutes, ordinances, resolutions, proclamations, and correspondence for Mayor/Council, including public presentations and Declarations of Emergency.

Assistant City Manager Natasha Hampton

Community and Business Development: Community and Business Development welcomed new Director Cynthia Jones. Jones and staff oversaw the completion of five urgent repair homes, 20 housing repairs for moderate income homeowners, 23 housing rehab matching rebates and a pair of scattered sites for low to moderate income homeowners. Also, extensive work was performed to catalog conditions of the downtown buildings.

Development Services: Director Will Deaton and staff commenced renovation to the first floor of City Hall and continued to collaborate with stakeholders to implement strategies in the Atlantic-Arlington Land Use Study. During the COVID-19 pandemic, permit updates and process improvements are ongoing and remote processing has been implemented. Staff also completed an annual Boundary and Annexation Survey update to the Census and state demographer to ensure municipal limits are accurately reflected.

Fire: Chief Corey Mercer and staff recognized 16 personnel during a promotional ceremony in January. The department received several recognitions during the quarter, including a “Sound Off” grant to teach lower income communities about fire safety. Blaise Harris, who serves as Fire Safety Educator, was recognized with the Award of Excellence at the 44th annual N.C. Fire & Life Safety Education Conference. The Stoney Creek Fire-Rescue Department also awarded the department with the Cleveland H. Hunt award in recognition of efforts that contributed to growth of the SCFR department. The department also implemented a new records management system and completed an engineering analysis of electrical and plumbing work at stations for installation of extractors and dryers awarded by FEMA as part of its Assistance for Firefighters Grant.

Human Relations: Director Archie Jones and staff completed a busy quarter by hosting three major events, including the 32 annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Competition, the 32nd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Breakfast, and the 26th annual International Festival of Cultures. The staff launched planning for the city of Rocky Mount efforts in promoting the 2020 Census.

Assistant City Manager Elton Daniels

Event Center: David Joyner began serving as Interim General Manager during the quarter. The Event Center began the year impressively by hosting a series of major youth sporting events in basketball and volleyball, including “Rumble in the Mount.” The tournaments brought in hundreds of teams from the across the state and Southeast region and more than 5,000 visitors to the city.

Parks and Recreation: Interim Director Joel Dunn and staff hosted a number of major events at the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences including two weekends of local theater shows (“Young Frankenstein”), a new Children’s Museum exhibit, “From Here to There,” an opening event for The Black Light project, and a viewing of the documentary “The Other Boys of Summer.” The first youth and adult basketball league seasons at the Rocky Mount Event Center were completed. The department also held a series of public meetings involving the Battle Park Master Plan. Several events planned by the department have been cancelled due to the pandemic, but virtual classes including yoga and children’s arts are being provided.

Police: Chief George Robinson and staff continue to provide support to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff has assisted organizers of major food distribution events and served meals during distribution with Nash-Rocky Mount Schools. A response plan has been completed to address COVID-19 issues that may arise, and each sworn officer and patrol vehicle has been equipped with Personal Protective Equipment. The department is experiencing lower than average calls for service at since the onset of Governor Roy Cooper’s Stay-At-Home Order. The Department has encouraged officers to use discretion to cite offenders on scene. Full custodial arrests reserved for serious crimes and similar circumstances. Most officers are continuing to perform their core job responsibilities.

Public Works: Director Brad Kerr and staff have been awarded contracts for greenway bridge repairs as well as the Sunset Avenue Access Management Corridor study. Staff completed the annual crash summary for the city of Rocky Mount as well as the design for a pair of drainage improvement projects. Environmental Services collected 24,150 pounds of litter and completed six clean-ups that resulted in 2,250 pounds of litter. Tar River Transit has continued operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the renovation of its driver’s room at the transfer station is ongoing.

Water Resources: Director Brenton Bent and staff prepared and distributed the 2019 Rocky Mount Drinking Water Report. Upgrades included the installation of a new high duty pump at the Sunset Avenue Water Treatment Plant. The upgrade has a rated capacity of an additional eight million gallons per day. The department also broke ground at the Tar River Reservoir Plant to start construction on the hypochlorite conversion project, which will allow the city to transition from gaseous chlorine to hypochlorite (bleach) as the preferred disinfectant in the water treatment process.