CCG Insight
CCG 2011 Accomplishments
January 2012
In This Issue
State of the City Address
 
Departmental Accomplishments
City Manager's Office
City Attorney's Office
City Auditor
(Internal Auditor)
Civic Center
Clerk of Municipal Court
Community Reinvestment
Cooperative Extension Service
Columbus Convention & Trade Center
Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau
Columbus Development Authority/Economic Development
Engineering Department
Finance Department
Fire/Emergency Medical Services
Human Resources
Information Technology
Inspection & Codes
Marshal's Office
METRA
Parks & Recreation
Planning Department
Police Department
Public Services Department
Tax Assesor's Office
Tax Commissioner's Office
Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

 

A Message From The City Manager

 

 State of the City Address

 

It is an honor to be the Mayor of the greatest city in America. Ours is a City of vision, passion, and exceptionalism in everything we do from inventing Coca-Cola, to starting Aflac and Carmike, to attracting NCR and BRAC, to building the RiverCenter, the Ft. Benning Gateway, and now the longest Class 3/Class 4 Whitewater rapids in an urban setting in the world. Whitewater has the potential to change the way the world sees Columbus and the way Columbus sees itself.

As I come to deliver this State of the City Address, I draw on the experiences, accomplishments and observations of the past year. I have had the opportunity to attend events throughout the year and ask citizens what their perception is of the current course the city. One person recently responded: "we are stronger than we think we are"; "we are smarter than we think we are"; "this is not your parents' southern town". I found that observation genuine and particularly perceptive. (...read more)

City Manager's Officecity manager's office
  • Groundbreaking for the new City Service Center, Parking Garage and Natatorium Project
  • Hired new Parks/Recreation Director, James Worsley
  • Hired new Civic Center Director, Ross Horner
  • Hired new Public Services Director, Pat Biegler
  • Hired new Community Reinvestment Director, Amy Carbajal
  • Approval to proceed with Wilson Camp (Satilla) Landfill Closure
  • Approval of plan to convert slave/colored cemetery into a Memorial Garden
  • Approval commitment for three (3) years funding 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness
  • Opened a 311 Information Booth at the Government Center Annex
  • Approval to renovate Comer Auditorium and offer as a community center to citizens of the Bibb City community
  • Initiated individual department head meetings every other month or six times annually (initial meeting each year is to update all departmental policies/procedures/revenue handling guidelines; other meetings focus on goals and objectives and performance standards)
  • Processed 222,765 calls/ 25,752 work orders from citizens requesting services and/or information through the 311/Citizen Service Center

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City Attorney's Officecity attorney's office
  • Hired new Assistant City Attorney, Lucy Sheftall, in 2011.
  • Drafted Charter Review Commission proposals for voters in General Election in 2012.
  • Successfully defended dozens of legal actions including civil rights and employment cases.

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City Auditor (Internal Auditor)internal auditor
  • Fire/EMS Department Audit
  • Transition audit of Civic Center Director
  • Audit of Columbus Convention and Visitors' Bureau Operations

 

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Civic Centercivic center
  • Ice Rink Opening
  • Two of the Top 10 Country Artists Performed at the Civic Center - Bradley Paisley and Jason Aldean.
  • Hired a new Ice Rink Manager

 

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Clerk of Municipal Courtclerk of municipal court
  • Enhanced customer service with expanded office hours, 7:30 - 5:30
  • Implemented new Marathon of Service which provides the filing of civil documents and the processing of these documents for service in 24-hours (previously the State allows us 3-5 days for processing). Saves citizens money and time.
  • Ncourt Services online filing system allows businesses and individuals to file their civil documents from their home or office.

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Community Reinvestmentcommunity reinvestment
  • The rehabilitation work on 30 foreclosed homes purchased with Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1) grant funds has been completed and 10 of those homes were purchased by new homeowners during this year

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Cooperative Extension Servicecooperative extension service
  • Secured $475,000 additional grant dollars from the Governor's Office for Children and Families to expand the Home Visiting Strategy.
  • Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program reached 376 limited resource families with a six-lesson curriculum that resulted in more than 92% improvement in dietary practices and positive nutrition choices, improvement in food management and food safety practices.
  • Over 800 pre-K children were reached with food and nutrition lessons during month of the young child.
  • Master Gardeners collaborated with Oxbow Meadows, Columbus Botanical Gardens, Trees Columbus, Green Industry, Live Healthy Columbus Coalition, Columbus Housing Authority, etc. for advance study and community sharing.
  • Expertise provided for many community gardens that promote local food, eating healthy and being active through family gardening.

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Columbus Convention & Trade Centercolumbus convention & trade center
  • Nationally chosen as a favorite meeting venue by ConventionSouth
  • Won the Reader's Choice Award for 2011 in Excellence, Creativity, and Professionalism
  • Implemented room diagramming software package. Clients may go online and view each meeting room and room setups.
  • Rented space for 686 event days, serving more than 202,900 people and prepared 114,085 meals

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Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureaucolumbus convention & visitors bureau
  • Launched the Columbus App for Android and iPhone
  • Launched a new regional film (this won both a national award, a Telly, and a marketing award at this year's Governor's Conference)
  • Certified by the GA Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau (having met all standards of excellence); the first GA CVB to be accredited by national (DMAI) and state (GACVB) associations
  • Unlock Columbus Campaign -- a social media discovery program using FourSquare
  • CEO Beacon Award from Southeastern Tourism Society
  • Secured GA Parks & Recreation Association convention (partnership with Sports Council and P&R)
  • Secured Whitewater Courses & Parks Association - Professional Paddle Sports Association Convention
  • Visitors Center recognized as a Regional Visitors Information Center by the GA Dept. of Economic Development
  • Increased visitor spending 10%
  • Increased household savings in local and state taxes by 9%

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Columbus Development Authority/thority / economic development
Economic Development

  • 1,041 primary jobs created with a capital investment of $165,394,935 in Columbus, Georgia - Valley Partnership region
  • Two major project announcements:
    • Pratt Whitney expansion: 177 new jobs / $19M capital investment
    • Kodak: 62 jobs / $29,250,000 capital investment
  • Companies recruited included:
    • Turbine Support Systems (Pratt Whitney supplier): 5 jobs / $1M capital investment
    • Brand Vaughn building supplies: 5 jobs / $350,000 capital investment
    • ABC auto auction in South Columbus: 35 jobs / $675,000 capital investment
    Marketing Exposure:
  • Recruitment trip to Germany accompanied by Mayor
  • Paris Airshow - 25 leads
  • Defense and Security Equipment International - largest defense show in the world - 15 solid leads
  • Site selection and prospect meetings in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, and Washington, DC

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Engineering Departmentengineering department
  • Completed the Federal Communications Rebanding Project that required programming 2500 - 800 MHz Radios
  • Completed interior portion for the renovations of the Annex for the Traffic Control Center
  • Completed and opened the Fall Line Project
  • Began construction/project management of the City Service Center and Natatorium Complex
  • Completed upgrade of railroad crossings and resurfacing of 9th Street from 6th Avenue to Front Avenue

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Finance Department
finance department
  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2010.
  • Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2010 (FY11 Budget)
  • Exceeded Investment Index every quarter for 2011
  • Unqualified (“clean”) opinion from our external auditors for more than 25 years
  • Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) for 21 years
  • Awarded $26,027,127 in federal/state grant funds
  • Awarded the following amounts in Open Awards (awards may span over several years):
    2011 finance numbers

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Fire/Emergency Medical Servicesfire / emergency medical services
  • Put in service a mobile Fire Safety Training House, donations from local businesses. The unit will be used to teach elementary school age children the importance of fire safety.
  • Hosted the 2011 Georgia Association of Firefighters and Georgia Fire Chief's Conference.
  • Strategic Plan recognized as best in State and is currently being used by the Georgia Fire Academy as the model for other Fire/EMS departments.

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Human Resourceshuman resources
  • Transition of new benefit manager providing improved services to employees/retirees of the CCG
  • Facilitated activities for the new Retiree Health Benefits Committee
  • Currently implementing new benefits management system
  • Employee Customer Service Training Program
  • Anti-Fraud Training Program
  • Improved employee wellness efforts by adding additional programs and health fair

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Information Technologyinformation technology
  • New facilities online to CCG Network, Ice Rink, Sports Council, Sheriff's Training Facility, Homeland Security and Fire Station 2
  • Purchased and installed new IBMz10 Mainframe, along with additional IBM DS6800 Disk Storage and new IBM 3592 Tape Storage device
  • Upgraded IBM Commonstore Email Archiving System

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Inspections & Codesinspections & codes
  • Implemented online permitting system; allows contractors to request inspections and permits online.
  • All employee inspectors certified in their respective field of expertise and some are certified in other fields. Because inspectors are more versatile, this allows flexibility to utilize the inspectors in multiple fields.
  • Requests for building permits sees steady growth:
    2011 Inspections & Codes Quick Stats

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Marshal's Officemarshal's office
  • Implemented the Refuse To Be A Victim Seminar. The program has been endorsed nationally.
  • Developed and implemented the Muscogee County Training Complex in partnership with the Sheriff's Office to improve firearms training. The complex is also used for the newly developed Civilian Firearms Training Course.
  • The Junior Marshal Program and the D.A.R.E. Program reached more than 5,000 students in Muscogee County Schools

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METRAMETRA
  • Purchased seven replacement fleet buses with ARRA Federal Stimulus funds
  • Replaced bus maintenance building roof and resurfaced the bus parking and storage lot
  • Paratransit “call back” system installed. The paratransit riders requesting rides now receive an automatic call back the evening before the trip. The call back confirms the trip and allows the customer to cancel the trip if necessary.
  • Implemented the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system; designed to track METRA vehicles, and is connected to the 911 emergency systems
  • Awarded $2 million for new hybrid buses from Federal Transit Administration. On site announcement/news conference in Columbus.

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Parks & Recreationparks & recreation
  • Won bid to host GRPA (Georgia Recreation/Park Association) Conference for 2013
  • Successful Accreditation of three After School sites in the Community Schools Division (awaiting documentation from COA - Council of Accreditation)
  • Opening/Operating Fall Line Trace Bicycle Trail

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Planning Departmentplanning department
  • Completion of the Fall Line Trace
  • Georgia Planning Association award for Outstanding Educational Tool - All Year Round Initiative for Public Involvement
  • Construction started on the 14th Street Pedestrian Bridge
  • Completion of the Heat Island (landscaping) project at Buena Vista Road/St. Mary's Road
  • Completion of the Congestion Management Study
  • Finalization of construction for Phase I of the Veterans Parkway Streetscapes project.
  • Awarded the Safe Routes to Schools Grant for new sidewalks around Clubview Elementary
  • Completion of the Regional Project listing for 2011 Regional Transportation Special Purpose Option Sales Tax for the election to be held in July 2012
  • Established new council districts through the Districting Commission

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Police Departmentpolice department
  • Received CALEA Reaccreditation (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement)
  • Began GEARS Accident Investigation Reporting (Georgia Electronic Accident Reporting System)
  • Organized the Copper Task Force

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Public Services Departmentpublic services
  • Implementation of Save a Pet program:
    1. Reduction of animals euthanized from 78% in 2010 to 64% in 2011
    2. Increase in adoptions, rescues and returned to owner of about 30% over 2010
  • Construction of the firing range for Marshal's Office - State of the art firing range constructed for use by Sheriff's Office and Marshal's Office for training using three of our major divisions
  • Relocation of Pauper Cemetery from East Porterdale to a two-acre site on Porterdale. The area was surveyed with "Ground Penetrating Radar" to determine that no unmarked graves existed.
  • Enhancement/Renovation of Riverdale Cemetery

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Tax Assessor's Officetax assessor's office
  • Mailed out 68,200 plus Annual Notice of Assessment
  • Received less than 2% appeals on notices mailed

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Tax Commissioner's Officetax commissioner's office
  • Unqualified ("clean") opinion for 2011 and the last 28 consecutive years from the City's external auditor for "The Tax Commissioner's Office"
  • Governor's approval of the 2011 County Ad Valorem Tax Digest
  • Successful completion of the State Audit
  • Provided property tax and motor vehicle training for Fort Benning's Judge Advocate General's staff
  • Opened Satellite Office at Fort Benning for its military members returning from Iraq
  • 100% participation in Anti-Fraud, Sexual Harassment, & Customer Service training
  • Processed mailing 125,000 property tax bills
  • Cut total property tax payment posting time by 61.5%
  • Property tax bill preparation time reduced by 62.5%
  • Motor vehicle mail-in registration processing time reduced from 5 to 2 days
  • Processed 50,570 motor vehicle titles
  • Processed 334,636 motor vehicle registrations
  • Initiated web/interactive voice telephone motor vehicle registrations
  • Converted bankruptcy filing process to paperless electronic filing system
  • Improved bad check collections by 51%

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Workforce Investment Act (WIA)workforce investment act (wia)
  • Purchase of Mobile Assessment Unit, which has yielded the expansion of outreach efforts in providing services to citizens in the eight (8) county areas
  • Increased the number of training options made available to clients served by our program

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A Message From The City Managerisaiah

We Finished 2011 Columbus, Georgia Strong!
2011 was a difficult year for cities and counties across the nation. All have dealt with a bad economy and declining revenues while citizens have continued to demand increased levels of services or certainly no decline in service or increased fees. Many have had to cut budgets, raise taxes and fees, furlough and lay off employees to maintain a balanced budget. Columbus weathered the storm and ended calendar year 2011 without doing any of the above. While we were not able to do all that we wanted to do, we can truly say, “We Finished 2011, Columbus, Georgia Strong”.
Thank you (CCG employees) for your hard work and dedication. You stepped up and did more with less. Because of you, the CCG remained strong in difficult times.
The Report:

  • Layoffs - None
  • Furloughs - None
  • Budget cuts after budget adoption - None
  • Pay adjustment - 0.50% increase
  • Tax Digest - Up 2%
  • Building permits for all construction (residential/commercial/other) - Up 12.7%
  • Original LOST - Up 7.57% in FY12 over FY11 (4 months collection)
  • 2nd LOST - Up 14.74% in FY 12 over FY 11 (4 months collection)
  • External Audit of CCG - Received Unqualified (clean) opinion for financial statements ending June 30, 2011
  • CCG Bond Rating - “Aa2” from Moody, “AA+” from Standard & Poor’s affirming a stable outlook with strong financial operations
  • The CCG has continued to resurface roads, hire additional police officers, deputy sheriffs, deputy marshals, funded crime prevention projects, and we are in the midst of constructing capital projects that will further improve the quality of life for citizens. These projects include a New Ice Rink, City Services Center, Natatorium, Recycling/Sustainability Center, Fall Line Trace/Walking-Jogging- Biking Trail, 6th Avenue Flood Abatement, and road projects such as Forest Road, Ft. Benning Road/Brennan Road, Moon Rood and many others.

My message to you for January 2012 is “Thank You”. You have earned “High Marks” for your service, commitment and dedication. Job Well Done!

Isaiah Hugley,
City Manager

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Columbus Consolidated Government | 100 10th Street | Columbus | GA | 31901