Posted by: an acre of oklahoma | April 21, 2010

Nowata City Strives to Provide Better Service at Lower Cost

The City of Nowata breaks ground for a new City Hall/Police Department building on April 7th, 2010. Pictured left to right are Tamara Maddux, City Clerk, City Commissioners Judy Hesslen, Karen Boyles and Ruth Hill, Police Chief Rick Miller and City Manager Tom Roane. I asked Tom Roane, City Manager about how the new building saves the city money and provides better service for our citizens. Tom provided the following information:

Daily we hear about financial difficulties faced by cities across Oklahoma. Declining revenues coupled with increasing cost to provide needed services pose quite a challenge to municipal operations. Cities are looking for any means to reduce costs and at the same time deliver essential services to citizens. Nowata is not exempt from the financial pressures felt across the state and taking steps to reduce operational costs of operating the Police Department and City Hall functions by consolidating existing facilities into one location.

 

 Consideration of combining City Hall, Police, Fire and EMS into one location has been an issue for several years and now that construction costs are down and operating costs projected to rise in the near future now is the time to act on this cost saving project. Benefits of combining these services at one location include but are not limited to:

  1. Operational cost savings
  2. Capital cost savings
  3. Enhanced emergency operations capability
  4. Increased inter-departmental efficiency 

In addition to cost saving features of this consolidation plan there are quite a few other benefits to be reaped when the building is complete. At the present time neither the Police Station nor City Hall can operate during power outages with frequent ice storms requiring critical facilities to close for several days. After consolidation, all critical facilities would be able to operate under emergency power and handle emergencies in a timely and efficient manner.

 

  Customer service will be greatly enhanced. A new “drive-up window” for utility payments will allow customers to pay their water bills from their car. Also, currently, customers are asked to go to one location for pet tags, court business, police business, then go to another location for burn permits, ambulance business and fire business, and yet another location for utility bills, building permits, cemetery business and other city business. When completed this building will house all these activities and customers will be able to take care of all their business at one location.

 Currently the City operates three separate facilities to provide Police, Fire, EMS, Utility and City Administration services. This project would eliminate two of the existing buildings and put all services under one roof. The most popular location choice for this facility involves adding on to the existing Fire/EMS building rather than build an entire new facility. At this time City Hall and the Police Station occupy two separate buildings with a combined usable space of about 5000 sq. ft.. The 1100 reduction is square footage is realized from combining the existing City Court room and Commission room into the Fire Department training room and using restrooms and the kitchen/break room facilities already in the Fire Department.

 Elimination of duplicated utility and operating expenses will show an immediate reduction of spending. The City will save through energy savings by operating in a smaller, well insulated, energy-efficient building. Electric and gas consumption will be greatly reduced along with the elimination of two “monthly meter” charges from gas and electric services. The City will be able to eliminate two fax lines and their monthly charges, at least one phone line and the monthly charge, two high-speed internet connections and their monthly charge. Eliminate two refrigerators, and various pieces of office equipment including copiers, fax machines, etc. Yet another savings will be with the 25% reduction of space will also reduce insurance costs. Plans are to off set initial construction costs through the sale of the vacated Police Station and City Hall buildings, making the financial payback for this project both substantial and rapid.

  The City of Nowata is looking forward to providing better service to citizens at the lowest possible cost!

Let’s tell our City Council, Employees, Police and Fire Department, Emergency Services and City Manager good job, guys! You are appreciated!

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