We are so fortunate to live in a tremendous community.
In Columbus we do big things! Attached is my 2013 State of the
City speech in which I recount all the successes of our past and
set forth a map to reach our future. In this speech, I lay out a
three-pronged approach for how we as a community can grow
and prosper by turning our blighted and economically distressed
areas around. We need your help in getting the word out to the
community that we can go beyond simply ministering to those
in need, we can create communities where they can succeed.
Journey to our future includes:
Redevelopment Districts - A citywide vote will be held to allow Columbus the opportunity to adopt a bond financing tool that has existed in Georgia since 1985 and which 60 other communities in Georgia enjoy. Columbus lags behind in this effort. We need for the members of your church or organization to understand how this proposal allows private investment to turn blighted areas around thereby creating jobs, reducing crime and improving schools.
New Urban Service Districts - This is a tool Columbus already has, but can modify to reduce tax rates for investment in blighted areas. Again, this type of investment would not come to these economically distressed areas of our community without this favorable tax treatment. Mixed-Use developments of residential, retail shops, and restaurants can take advantage of this tool and bring a new economic vibrancy to areas where currently there is none.
Reform Our Tax System - Through creating a new tax system that protects homeowners with the Property Tax Freeze and creates a new tax system with a significant tax break, we can rid ourselves of inequities and adjust unfair taxes that fall on the shoulders of our young people returning from college, the military families we take such pride in and the type of working middle-income families that built this city. This reformed system will encourage more people to move to Columbus, as opposed to moving beyond our county's borders.
We need your help in the educational effort of this Journey. We certainly want you to have the first-hand information of this effort to improve our community and to help those who need it most find the opportunities their families need.
Received recertification as a Georgia Certified City of Ethics from Georgia Municipal Association Ethics Certification Committee.
Initiated a Building Efficiency Study assessment of the government center, towers and wings.
Hosted 2012 Hometown Connection with Georgia Legislative Delegation, Muscogee County School District, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau, Columbus Health Department and other organizations.
Hosted 2012 Georgia Risk Management Association’s Annual Meeting held at the Trade Center.
Created a pictorial directory of every CCG facility for departmental needs and public safety.
Initiated a three day Uptown Parking Survey of the Central Business District.
311 Citizens Service Center processed 195,968 calls resulting in 24,171 work orders.
Assisted 21,977 walk-in citizens.
Provided free Notary Service to 3,689 citizens.
Government Center tours - 644 students and 25 adults from local high schools, elementary schools, a college and the delegation from China toured the Government Center.
COLUMBUS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
For the Columbus, Georgia Valley Partnership region, our year-to-date scoreboard totals 1,037 primary jobs created and 350 jobs retained with a capital investment of $85,050,000. The Valley Partnership region includes Muscogee, Harris, Marion, Chattahoochee, Taylor and Talbot counties, the cities of West Point, Manchester and Russell County, AL.
Phase 2 of NCR at 6000 Technology Parkway, a $15M project, will employ over 870 employees.
Road America added 350 call center jobs.
AFS America (Columbus’ first tier 2 Kia supplier) created 65 jobs with $3M capital investment.
TSPLOST was passed in our region, only 1 of 3 regions in the state to pass it. This Special Options Tax will create 16,000 jobs and over $594M for transportation projects in the River Valley Region.
Recruitment trip to Farnborough England Airshow provided 20 leads.
Site selection and prospect meetings in Atlanta, New York and Washington, DC.
After years of going to the customer, many of our prospects are coming to us. We had visitors from Germany, Japan, South Korea, England, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico.
As of November 30, 2012, there has been a 9% reduction in Part 1 crimes through proactive patrols and vigorous investigations and a 21% reduction in burglaries.
Expanded our community outreach by providing a “Dare to be GREAT” camp. The four-week summer camp was held at Edgewood Elementary School and involved over 100 Fifth grade students.
Initiated a TipSoft program designed to help Crime Stoppers prevent and solve crimes. TipSoft allows citizens to report criminal activity by sending anonymous e-mails and or text messages to Crime Stoppers. The TipSoft system assigns the citizen an identification number to track information and when appropriate issue rewards.
City council approved over two million dollars to fund a new Records Management System. System will allow electronic reporting from patrol vehicle as well as ability to search and “data mine” other information. This is a major step forward for department.
Department fielded four new Rapid Identification Device electronic scanners that allow officers to scan a suspect’s fingerprints and have prints matched against Georgia Bureau of Identification database.
Taught 372 students for a total of 1,860 contact hours administered through the University of Georgia’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.
35% of the participants increased amount of fruits and vegetables consumed daily. 29% reported decreased consumption of sweetened beverages for savings of over $27,495,367.00 in anticipated healthcare related costs.
Home Visiting Programs
432 clients were core screened, 262 referred to first steps, 52 mothers enrolled (28 prenatal) and 464 home visits.
24 completed Domestic Violence screening, 10 at risk, 6 now have safety plan after positive screening for Domestic Violence.
MIECHV personnel conducted 69 community and group connection programs that reached 982 people in Columbus.
Expanded Food Nutrition Program – (EFNEP)
Total of 376 people graduated from EFNEP Program in FY2011.
After completing the EFNEP Program:
-- 94% of graduates had a positive change in the nutritional value of their diets.
-- 82% improved nutrition practices such as healthy food choices, preparing foods without adding salt, reading nutrition labels and eating breakfast. Gardening with the Masters
30 participants per session (9-sessions) signed up for the course. 540 education contact hours were made through the program.
100% of the participants will re-attend program for new class information as well as answered “Yes” when asked if the information received from class would be used in their landscape projects.
Sustainable Turfgrass Training
Training provided to 40 workers, 96 hours each. Program certifies city of Columbus Urban Forestry & Beautification employees in Certified Sustainable Turfgrass.
Average pre-test score 72%. Post-test scores averaged 92%.
UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development estimates that each hour of training has a minimum economic value of $6,427 to businesses.
Organized the GIS Executive Steering Committee & GIS Working Group to evaluate requests for services and allocate resources.
Mapped all city cemeteries with the exception of Linwood.
Supported CFEMS in re-certification review by performing route and call clustering analysis along with 300-plus static maps, posters, and electronic documents.
Updated the City’s GIS Website.
FCC Rebanding Project – The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) provided a nationwide mandate that certain 800 Megahertz radio frequencies licensed with Sprint Nextel, Inc. be swapped with certain local, state and Federal licensed frequencies to eliminate radio signal interference issues. Columbus has several FCC licenses within the 800 Megahertz frequencies requiring that some 2,500 radios be reprogrammed or replaced. This project provided Columbus with some 860 new radios.
18th Av @ Garrard St Roundabout – Traffic Engineering developed the design concept and assisted in the supervision of the construction for this new roundabout.
Transport Blvd @ Cargo Drive Roundabout - Traffic Engineering developed the design concept and assisted in supervision of construction for this new roundabout.
Wynnton and Macon Rd ATMS project – This project was part of an EECBG grant that provided significant upgrade to the Wynnton and Macon Rd signal system. The project installed new 2070 signal controllers for 18 signalized intersections, rebuilt five existing signal displays with Mast Arm Signal Strain Poles, upgraded all Pedestrian signals, replaced existing metallic signal interconnect with Fiber Optic interconnect interfacing this system to the City’s new Traffic Control Center. Annual savings to motorists in Columbus will be $12,391,859 in the form of reduced delay and $1,807,146 due to reduced fuel consumption, for a total annual savings of $14,199,006. The improved timing plans for the Columbus EECBG Signal Retiming Project have benefit cost ratios ranging from 46.39 to 1 to 49.06 to 1. Expressed in another way, the new timing plans for the Columbus EECBG Signal Retiming Project pays for itself approximately every 5-work day.
Signal System Retiming project – This project was part of the same EECBG grant that retimed 190 traffic signals within existing signal systems to improve travel time, reduce congestion and save fuel.
Uptown Parking Survey – Traffic Engineering managed and provided man power to conduct a three day Parking Survey for the Central Business District of all parking spaces from Bay Avenue
2011 Cut & Cover -The project consists of installing over 2500 feet of varying sizes of sewer and water system improvements and over 1200 feet of Cured in place pipe lining. This work was done in 4 different locations: 2nd Ave, 11th Street, 17th Ave and Robert E Lee Drive. Road reconstruction, erosion and sedimentation control and all associated restoration connections were performed.
Riverwalk Stabilization Project - The work was focused on the original phase of the Riverwalk. The project included performing slope stabilization activities and utility location, grading, installation of bio-engineering (use of geogrid, soil anchoring, and turf reinforcement matting), erosion and sediment control, and detailed landscape treatments.
Fall Line Trace Sign Enhancement Project - The final construction on the Fall Line Trace included way-finding signs, brick pillar gateways at street intersections, entrance signs into the Rest Stops, mile marker signs, landscaping, concrete split median, complete signal flashers at larger intersections, pavement marking, pedestrian guardrails, playground equipment, concrete flatwork, park benches and trash receptacles.
Buena Vista Road Pedestrian Bridge - The work consisted of sandblasting and recoating the bridge with a high-performance epoxy coating, re-welding connections as required, removing and disposing existing fence material, installing new vinyl-coated chain link fence fabric, reinforcing structural members as required, and repairing additional stem walls.
Boxwood Recreation Center Rehabilitation - The rehabilitation of this neighborhood center included selective demolition, masonry infill of windows, exterior rough carpentry, new gutters and downspouts, refurbished doors and windows, ceramic tile, acoustical panel ceilings, restoration painting, new toilet and bath fixtures as well as a new HVAC system.
Keep Columbus Beautiful Rehabilitation - Done in two phases, the Rehabilitation to exterior of house including rehabilitation of all windows, removing and replacing damaged boards, scraping alligatored and loose paint, sanding down to well-adhered paint and repriming and repainting all the siding and trim. The interior work included repainting of selected interior walls, ceilings and wood trim. Rehabilitation and repair of wood strip flooring.
Weracoba Creek Bank Stabilization - Project consisted of stabilization and new landscaping of 300 feet of stream bank along Weracoba Creek. The area was originally a historic solid waste facility that operated in the early 1900s. That solid waste was removed from site to prevent further contamination into the creek in conformance with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.
Technology Parkway Infrastructure - Contractors constructed an extension to Pine Grove Road approximately 1200 linear feet. The work also includes the installation of water mains and a force main sewer for future development coming to the area.
Gateway Bridge Façade and Landscaping Project - Visually connecting Columbus and Ft. Benning, the work primarily involved clearing, grubbing, planting various landscaping items, installation of irrigation, as well as, fountain plaza and construction of monument and bridge façade.
Moon Rd. Widening Project - Widening of 4700 LF of Moon Road between Veterans Parkway (US-27) and US-80. Originally a two-lane road, the widening made the area now 4 lanes with landscape median.
14th Street Pedestrian Bridge - The existing bridge structure spanning the Chattahoochee River at 14th Street has been converted into a pedestrian-only bridge; and the work included structural repairs, remediation and modifications of the existing concrete and earthen bridge and its foundation. The work will also include replacement of concrete guardrails, cantilevered concrete walks and the addition of hardscape work, landscape planting and amenities. Selective demolition includes removing the existing walks, rails and paving.
18th Street & Garrard Roundabout - Project maintained public access to all residences located within the area while performing and installing grading, sidewalks, handicapped ramps, curbs & gutters, driveways, medians; storm drain pipes; pavement marking; irrigation system, landscaping and pavement markings.
Over 29 miles of streets have been resurfaced and milled through out the city of Columbus.
FTA Deputy Administrator, Theresa McMillan kicked off the National Energy Efficiency Transportation Program in Columbus. METRA was the recipient of an energy innovations grant that was “shovel ready” for the purchase of four hybrid diesel electric buses. The buses are designed to save up to 30% in fuel. The buses are quieter and fuel efficient. This is the direction FTA endorses and recognized the Columbus Consolidated Government for being innovative in approaching conservation and public transportation.
METRA’s website can be read in 66 different foreign languages. The language conversion requires the reader to select a language from any METRA website page. The page is automatically translated. This initiative is part of several activities aimed at improving transit information for citizens whose first language is not English (Limited English Proficiency Program “LEP”).
A Spanish information line allows callers to ask transit questions and receive a Spanish call back answer within 24 hours during the week and 48 hours on weekends.
Approved Georgia House Bill 277 Transportation Initiative Program (TIA) will provide state funding of approximately $22.5 million (@$2.5 million per year) for 10 years for public transit.
The Muscogee County Juvenile Drug Court has served 663 participants and their families. Three hundred twenty-five participants have successfully graduated. The program continues to reduce delinquency by 85% and has a long term sustained recidivism rate of 15%, which is below the national average.
Selected to give a presentation at the 2012 Accountability Courts Conference in Atlanta Georgia, May 2012.
Grandparent of a Muscogee County Juvenile Drug Court Graduate was 1 of 6 parents selected nationally to speak at the opening plenary session of the International Joint Meeting on Adolescence Treatment Effectiveness Conference (JMATE) in Washington, DC. February 2012.
First Juvenile Drug Court in the nation to have a graduate give a testimony in front of 4,000 conference attendees at the opening ceremony of The National Association of Drug Court Professionals Conference (NADCP) in Nashville, TN. July 2012.
Hosted the Accountability Court Symposium and Graduation Ceremony at Columbus State University, October 2012. Keynote speaker was Ms. Carolyn Hardin, Executive Director, National Drug Court Institute (NDCI). The 9 Accountability Courts in the Chattahoochee Valley were recognized for their accomplishments.
Visionary and host of the 1st Annual Georgia Marshal Training Conference held in Columbus, Georgia. Conference emphasized training related to courtroom security, civil process, and leadership.
Operation Safe Schools-the Marshal's Office and Sheriff's Office joined forces to have deputies do a walk-through of all schools in the Muscogee County School
Began initiative to insure child safety.
Raised $1,794.00 for the Special Olympics and Law Enforcement Torch Run. An increase of $600.00 over last year's total.
Ongoing program that educates citizens in proper and safe use of firearms by conducting the Civilian Firearms Course. The course teaches Georgia Gun Laws, safe handling, maintenance, and firearms skills through practical exercises on the range.
Transitioned to new H & K pistol, the HK45. Opportunity arose where we could support and partner with H & K USA located here in Columbus, Georgia. All sworn personnel have been properly trained and transitioned to the new weapons.
Recipient of grant from Homeland Security for five (5) RapidID Fingerprint Systems. Systems allow deputies to do wireless checks of fingerprints in field. This helps keep community safe by giving deputies ability to identify wanted or dangerous persons who cannot be readily identified.
Recipient of grant from Columbus Consolidated Government, Office of Crime Prevention for Junior Marshal Program. Grant insured middle school students will continue to receive the guidance and mentoring that the program offers. The Junior Marshal Program was implemented in 2005. Since it’s existence students completing the program have gone on to attend the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, various branches of military, and other positive endeavors.
Acquired the B.O.S.S. Chair, the Cell-sense and the Intellican (contraband detection systems). MCP is the only county facility in the state with this equipment.
Increased number of shakedowns inside and outside facility drastically reducing amount of contraband that includes cell phones, drugs and tobacco.
Developed and implemented a Quality Improvement Committee and an Employee Benefit Committee to assist with improving staff moral.
Upgraded 15 year-old kitchen equipment.
Stripped all floors of dirty wax, resealed, then painted entire inside of facility
Constructed wall inside Warden’s Office to provide office space for administrative officer.
Transferred all inmates that were validated “Security Threat Group” members.
Security audit in November of 2011 yield 63 findings. Audit in May of 2012 yield only 11.
Updated and created post orders for all inside and outside officers to use as guide to perform duties.
Updated Inmate Handbook.
Improved communications with outside detail supervisors and officers and as a result we are now in compliance with applicable state laws, policies and procedures.
All vacant positions were filled including Deputy Warden of Security position.
Reduced the amount of compensatory time accrued by staff below 200 hours.
Competed bid process for new outside detail “Turn-Out” building.
Planned, organized and conducted GED/OJT recognition program for inmate graduates. Mayor Tomlinson delivered keynote address.
Conducted quarterly emergency drills.
Participated in community service projects and programs to include: Torch Run, Shop with Cops, Toys for Tots, Book Bags for School, United Way Campaign, American Heart Association, Relay for Life, Open Door, and the Breast Cancer Awareness Program.
Planned, organized and conducted “Employee of the Quarter” staff recognition program.
Created a robust safety program, to include policies, procedures, training and inspections. Over 1,500 personnel training sessions completed.
GIS inventory and inspection of Stormwater system. Establishment of a new inlet inspector has allowed us to increase inspections from roughly 3,000 inspections per year with a goal of 8,000. We have completed over 15,000 inspections in 2012. This will allow inspection, cleaning and maintenance of all inlets within a two-year period, reducing flooding and improving response times.
Balanced budget for integrated waste for the first time
Signage placed on all garbage trucks, inmate vans, etc., cautioning public to speak with drivers only.
Commercial tipping fees at landfills increased effective July 1, 2012.
Recycling program increased to include accepting materials from Auburn University and from 16 additional local schools
Heavy Equipment division integrated into streets and forestry divisions for more effective use of equipment.
Purchase of paving machine has allowed Public Works to take on smaller paving jobs, to include all four cemeteries (at a savings of $81,000 over the purchase of the equipment), Old Macon Road and other locations around the City.
Euthanasia rate decreased to 52.6%, down from 79% for 2010 and 64% from 2011, for an overall reduction of 26.4% in two years.
Created Animal Control volunteer program that now has 50+ active volunteers. This has allowed regular off-site adoption events, contributing to the higher adoption rate and lower euthanasia rate. Increased number of rescue groups that we work with regularly from 1 in 2010 to 25+ in 2012.
Established a work order system for the general government building, allowing accountability for customer requests. Provided training to all building occupant organizations.
Installed propane fuel source on Sheriff’s vehicles and some public works mower. Four staff members now trained for related maintenance.