Mayor Piccolo presents 'State of the city' address
|Bret Cammans receives the 2004 Mayor's Choice Award.|
"Change has a way of crafting our lives," Joe Piccolo began his State of the City address last Wednesday to a large group of city employees and community leaders at the Price City auditorium. He went on to explain that whether it's technology, people or social factors, changes means that things need to be done differently. "If we stand still we'll die." He challenged the group to watch for the elements of change and be aware of what they are. "Attend meetings that effect change, ask questions, and act responsible for the betterment of the community."
"Another year has passed and Price City has again been given the opportunity to face many challenges for another year. Primary among these challenges are things like funding shortfalls from the state and federal level that affect local projects like roads and recreation improvements as well as project delays," he stated.
"I am here today to let you know that the Price City elected officials and staff continue to respond to these challenges with conviction, employees have become more efficient and effective, active groups of citizens have become involved, and we are continuing to become a more friendly and progressive place to live, work and recreate we are determining together what the future will hold for Price City."
"What the future holds is what we will make of it together and Price City is committed to its mission, "to protect and promote the welfare of all citizens by ensuring exceptional service and leadership through communication, cooperation and creativity".
One thing the future holds for Price City is some growth, something which hasn't been seen for many years and "many local and area businesses are investing in the community and betting on our future." The population remains at about 8,500 people making up about half of the total Carbon County population and Price City is the business, commercial and educational hub for all of southeastern Utah. "As the economy state-wide and nationally continues to expand and stabilize over this next year and our local economy feels that stabilizing and growth effect. Price City will respond by continuing to bring that same high and expected level of service to existing and new members of our community."
Price City is active in business growth and expansion projects including utilization and promotion of the redevelopment agency areas to their maximum benefit. "Many local businesses enjoy tax credits for operating in Price City and residents enjoy a high quality of life characterized by clean, clear air, friendly neighbors and short commutes. Our Main Street commercial district is improving, and investments in building improvements and outdoor art are happening, the shopping centers are vibrant with tenants and we are actively working with and encouraging new and expanding businesses each day," he added.
Piccolo also reported on the activities of the various departments at Price City.
The Price City Library, under the supervision of Library Manager Norma Procoronie, continues the English as a Second Language program and assisted 11 community members through that effort and utilized nine tutors. The Price City Library upgraded the collection to almost 56,000 items and circulated over 28,000 reference items through the community. The Price City Library hosted over 2,300 children for story time, served 852 kids with PAWS story hour and kept 163 kids reading through "Murphy's Dilemma" an innovated approach using service animals to help with reading. While completing all of this exceptional community literary work, Procoronie was honored with the State Award in Humanities.
Price City Building services department continued to keep all public properties in top operating shape as well. Antiquated and inefficient mechanical systems are being regularly replaced and minor renovations are taking place regularly to the buildings. "Buildings supervisor Fermin Gutierrez takes great pride to plan preventative maintenance rather than practice costly emergency repairs," said Piccolo. Some of the accomplishments are assistance for maintenance of mechanical systems at the Wave Pool, assistance in pool boiler replacement and planning of upgrades and improvements to the Price City Civic Auditorium.
Tom Richardson and the Shop and Fleet Department at the Domes continue to keep the entire Price City fleet in top running condition. "They not only experienced no major break-downs, but also placed several new pieces of equipment and vehicles into active service for Price City," he added.
Streets are a major issue every year and are one of the most highly visible things Price City cares for. pot-holes and utility trenches were all repaired with short tum-around times. Harold Valdez and the street department crew provided a big help for completion of the new BMX Track at Terrace Hills Park. The street department has worked on the large drainage project on 400 West in south Price, continued to maintain ditches and culverts as well as assisted the College of Eastern Utah at the site of the old CEU administration building.
The Price City Maintenance Department is sometimes paired with the streets department, but they are completing many valuable contributions to the City. The department that produced last year's Price City employee of the year, Roy Barnett, managed to continue to produce. They completed work at the BMX Track, in Carbonville, at the Public Works Complex and at many other locations throughout our community. Over 20 sidewalk restoration were completed and they are responsible for street striping to keep us all safe, especially in the crosswalks.
The Price City Irrigation Department maintains culverts, overshots, and screens, completes scheduled gate openings and closing for over 20 ditch lines. In addition to this, the department completed a sand-bagging project to increase water levels at the head gates during the drought and assisted on hundreds of "call-outs" for community irrigation problems.
Pat Larsen and the Price City Finance Department completed 26 employee payroll cycles, processing over $5 million in payroll using 3,900 individual checks. They also produced 24 complete utility billing periods and maintained over $10.4 million in accounts payable using 4,600 checks. The Finance Department completed $19 million of Price City business on time.
The Price City treasurers department processed over $9 million in receivables, averaging over $750,000 per month. Shari Madrid and her staff processed over 52,000 transactions, 21,000 of which were in person at the payment counter. The treasurers office also developed a new and innovative utility assistance program for qualifying customers to receive financial assistance.
The Price City water and sewer departments have also been busy over the last year. Sam White and all of the crews continue to produce large amounts of work. The department completed necessary staffing and certification for operation of the Price City Water treatment plant as well as installed new water and sewer lines through the inner-city area, installing over 2,000 feet of pipe along the way. The department assisted with and coordinated many Price City projects including the relocation of the Royal water meter and installation of 10,000 feet of 12-inch pipe and surface improvements to the Colton Springs to ensure a clean, quality water supply to Price City residents.
Suda Merriman is Price City parks department supervisor. This year the Parks Department again provided annual maintenance to all Price City parks, public spaces and ball fields as well as coordinated over 220 large group park reservations, through the picnic season that is an average of about three reservations per day to prepare for and clean-up after. Additionally, they completed landscaping at the BMX Track and installed new playground equipment at Terrace Hills Park that was acquired through a grant from the Carbon County restaurant tax.
Piccolo added that "a discussion of recreation in Price City is not complete until we recognize the wonderful work of Tamara Gray and the entire pool staff." They completed many plumbing and upgrade projects. They are a primary focus of recreation throughout not only Price City, but all of Castle Country, they are involved in many community events such as International Days, Easter egg hunts and Halloween Parties.
Price City administration department is continuing the process to acquire the east Price electrical distribution system and has taken a central role in the ongoing community budget counseling program. Other accomplishments include holding three employee training workshops that provided 12 hours of training to each employee. Administration completed and received 21 Century community designation from the Governor, coordinated the completion of the new Price City general plan and land use management and development code as well as prepared $958,000 in supplemental funding applications.
"Community and economic development was quite busy this year again and has helped the community prepare for the growth in Price City that the future holds," he said. Previously established initiatives such as the Price City economic vitality loan fund continue to operate, as does the Price City Redevelopment Agency. The Price City Redevelopment Agency was involved in 16 projects in two separate project areas, facilitated over $200,000 in public re-investment leveraging over $600,000 in private investment into the business and commercial success of Price City.
Francis Duzenack, Bob Bennett and staff of Price City's building and zoning department have reviewed and processed over 250 building permits in the last year, processed over 90 conditional use permit and helped with 25 home occupied business permits.
Piccolo welcomed John Daniels to the Price City family. Daniels heads the human Resources and risk management department.
Piccolo recognized the following people who have contributed over 25 years of continual service to Price City Kent Boyack, Byron Speirs, Ron Roper; Norma Procarione, Anthony Polito, Leonard Miller and Gary Perea.
In other awards Piccolo presented Bret Cammans with the "2004 Mayors choice award. "Bret has taken on numerous projects and responsibilities as well as provided great support to all Price City Departments, whether it is computer related or not. Bret's department the information services department has installed 30 new computer systems for Price City staff, implemented new spam and virus filtering software." he said. The IS Department has expanded the wireless LAN to allow communication with Helper City and upgraded the AutoCad systems as well as the financial management Caselle system.
"I am encouraged to report that our cops continue to do better than robbers thanks to the continued efforts of Price City police department and Chief Aleck Shilaos," Piccolo commented. The Price City Police department drug task force was recognized for outstanding activities and results by the Utah Narcotics Association. The Price City police department members completed a tri-annual FBI-BCI audit with superior marks and continue to ensure public safety. The Price City police department continues to receive grants and recognition for quality police and public safety work including recognition for programs and community partnerships.
The Price City cemeteries are moving toward the future under the direction of Cemetery Sexton Lyie Bauer. The Price City cemetery staff prepared for over 130 burials and continued to develop the Memorial Grove at Cliffview Cemetery. In addition to maintaining over 15 acres of cemetery grounds they cared for the water conservation garden and maintained a community forestry program and kept Price City designated as a "Tree City USA".
"The Price City fire department maintains the highest standards and professionalism and Fire Chief Kent Boyack won't have it any other way," he said. The Price City Fire Department increased from five to 15 certified EMT's and added three HazMat Operations Level responders. The Price City Fire Department responded to over 400 incident calls and continued to improve equipment and training and now has a total of 23 "Firefighter 11" level members. Boyack obtained grant funding to install a new compressed air foam system on one engine.
Brianna Welch, 2004 Price City Employee of the Year, was selected by her peers. "She has contributed to our city in many dozens of ways," commented Piccolo.
"Price City is proud to have been recognized as a "Champion of Industry" and a leader in local governments for populations under 10,000 people," he said, adding, "my charge to each citizen, employee, official and community member within reach of this message is: continue to be wise water users as we move toward the spring and summer. We will monitor this situation and keep everyone informed; watch for public meetings and hearings, become involved; be a quality person and do quality work; catch a vision of the future and help determine what the future will hold for Price City; work hard to help your fellow community member be successful; support and encourage everyone to reach their full potential and remember the Price City vision statement to "be a progressive, friendly community dedicated to excellence in service to our citizens, employees and visitors."