To the Community of Italy,
Last time, we discussed changing our form of government to a City Manager style. Since then, I have received some good feedback that I would like to address.
One concern of some was how much a City Manager will cost the City of Italy. I have done some research and have found that the salary should be between $70,000 and $75,000 per year. This might seem high to some, but by just having the basic knowledge of how to run a city correctly, it should streamline our operations and pay for itself. It was also stated in the last council meeting that we were saving $66,000 dollars in salaries, so that is not a far stretch from the projected salary of this position. I have personally worked under this form of government for 18 years and can attest to its success.
Also, it was brought to my attention that the city council only meets once a month and that it can take time to get an item on the agenda for them to consider and approve. With the City Manager form of government, the response to the citizen’s request is immediately addressed on most issues. As we are beginning to grow, it will be even more important to have the right person in place to be able to communicate on a day to day basis with executives from potential companies that would like to be located here. If these businesses need to wait 30 days to get an item on the agenda we could potentially lose that business.
Let’s talk technology! How about the idea of a live stream broadcast of all city council meetings? I think the current administration tried this a few months ago and they deserve credit for a good idea, but it was never followed through. This would allow those who cannot physically be at a meeting, an option to still be involved. We could also archive each meeting for viewing at a later time. I am hopeful that we have a citizen in our community that could assist us with this at a minimal cost to the taxpayers.
Here are some other ways to communicate with our citizens:
- Everbridge is just one system that allows you to sign up to receive text messages or emails from a city. My understanding is that we have a system like this in place. If we do, we should promote and encourage citizens to sign up and use this system. A system like this is used mainly in emergency situations, such as a tornado warning, but could also have other uses such as emails asking the citizens to fill out a survey. For example, the City of Italy was recently working on a new contract for trash services. We could have put up a survey that allowed the citizens to see the options available and at what price, and to ask for a response as to what the citizens want from that service. We have to look outside the box for alternative ideas for the citizens to be able to have a voice in city business without physically having to attend every council meeting. Although that would be a great thing, we all know that regular attendance at council meetings is not a reality.
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) These are basically free so we should capitalize on them also. The City of Italy does have a Facebook page, so we should utilize it as the "official " page for press releases and official city business, including notifications of community events, water outages, etc.
To those of you who do not live in the city limits of Italy: Of course, as Mayor, my first priority would be to the citizens of Italy. However, your ideas or opinions should also be considered valuable to this community. This is the community of Italy, Texas. You may work here, or your children attend Italy ISD. Some of you even volunteer a lot of your time for this city. You may buy gas or groceries here and you pay sales tax on these items, so you are also helping the City of Italy to grow. This community has to be a TEAM.
I want to apologize in advance that I will be unable to attend the next council meeting on March 13th. Before I officially decided to run as a candidate for Mayor, I had made a commitment to my wife and children and I plan to keep that commitment. God, Family, and Country; this is how I strive to live my life.
Stay tuned for more ideas! Next time we will discuss streets, water, and the downtown area. If you have ideas about anything that will improve the quality of our community please give me a call. My personal cell number is 214-356-4440.
Vote May 6th Jackie (JD) Cate for Mayor.
May God bless Italy, Texas.
Political ad paid for by JD “Jackie” Cate, candidate for mayor of Italy