The City of Independence today announced that it will be merging the Public Works and Water Pollution Control Departments. The combined department will be known as the Municipal Services Department.
“We are in a time of uncertainty that is requiring cities to look at their services, programs and budgets for every operational efficiency we can find,” City Manager Zach Walker said. “This restructuring of the Public Works and Water Pollution Control Departments will streamline the services we provide to the public, remove duplicate services in the two separate departments and continue to provide the Charter outlined services to our community. This is a service combination seen in several communities across the country and we look forward to the innovations it will allow us to capitalize on in the years to come.”
As part of the reorganization, the development engineering staff from Public Works will transfer to Community Development, creating a one-stop shop for business and developers seeking to invest in Independence. This will streamline the development process, enhance customer service, and promote the growth and economic prosperity of Independence — striking multiple objectives in the City’s strategic plan, Independence for All.
“We have heard feedback from the development community and business partners that has led to this solution,” City Manager Walker said. “This is the first step toward improving this process.”
Water Pollution Control was part of the Public Works department in Independence until the early 1980s, when it was separated out.
“We are preparing for an unknown future,” City Manager Walker said. “Our staff is our top priority, and any decision that impacts them is not one we take lightly. As we work through the economic impact of COVID-19, we are utilizing experts in both the health and financial fields to ensure we are prepared to react appropriately. None of us know for sure what the next year will bring, but we will continue to communicate with our staff and the public as decisions are made to provide the high-quality services our staff are honored to provide to our citizens. “
The City Manager will share the Proposed 2020-2021 Fiscal Budget to the Council on May 11 in a digital meeting. Citizens can watch this meeting on City7 (Comcast channel 7), YouTube Live and the City’s website. There will be a Digital Budget Town Hall on May 13. This will take place on Facebook and YouTube Live, allowing citizens to share their questions with the City Manager. Look for details to come.
For the latest updates on changes to services, closing and cancellations in the City of Independence related to COVID-19, please visit indep.us/coronavirus. All citizens are also encouraged to follow the City on Facebook at facebook.com/CityofIndependence, Twitter @CItyofIndepMo, and Nextdoor for updates on this changing situation. Citizens are encouraged to share questions not addressed with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the call center at (816) 325-7033.