City of Independence, Missouri

Making the grade, City continues to work forward on strategic goals

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The City of Independence today relaunched the Performance Dashboard on its website at indep.us/dashboard. The Dashboard has been reorganized to highlight the four main goals outlined in the City’s Strategic Plan, Independence for All. The goals are 1) Customer Focused: to improve customer service and communication; 2) Financially Sustainable: to ensure the City finances are stable and sustainable; 3) Growth: to increase economic prosperity of the community; and 4) Quality: To achieve livability, choice, access, health and safety through a quality built environment.

“It’s important that the City and our staff regularly reflect on our performance, what we’ve done well, where we can improve and how we are doing on our goals,” City Manager Zach Walker said. “Earlier this year, council adopted a Strategic Plan with challenging goals, requiring us to be creative, engaged and fiscally responsible. The benchmarks we share today show there have been some successes, there are many areas we continue to work on and there are measures that we are looking to improve. This is not a report we leave sitting on the shelf, but an opportunity for all of us to work together to improve the services we are providing to our citizens and stakeholders.”

When citizens click on the Performance Dashboard, they will see icons with “Goal Met”, “Under Goal”, and “Goal Not Met”. These icons are associated with the target goal and actual results reported for Quarter 1 (July 1 through October 1, 2017).

Some of the areas with the largest areas of growth and met goals include:

Goal Area: Quality

  1. The percentage of Code Enforcement cases Inspected in 5 days or less: The goal for this benchmark was that 75% of cases reported were inspected in five days or less, and the results for the first quarter were 81%.
  2. The number of dangerous buildings that have been demolished by the City as part of the Strategic Plan objective to reduce blight: The goal is the demolition of five buildings each quarter, with a total of 20 each year. They are currently on track with five in the first quarter and many already identified for the second quarter.

Goal Area: Growth

  1. The number of new jobs created in the community with the help and support of the Independence Economic Development Council: The goal is to have 965 new jobs created each year, approximately 150 new jobs each quarter. There were already 342 jobs created in the first quarter.

Goal Area: Customer-Focused

Another success story for this quarter includes the increased use of social media and engagement with citizens. The City saw significant growth on Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor and Twitter, allowing for greater response to citizen concerns, easier communication in emergency events and greater two-way communication between the City and stakeholders.

“While it is important to note those areas in which we are doing well, it is also important to mark those areas in which we know there is a need for improvement so that we can share with citizens the steps we have identified to resolve the problems,” Walker said. “There is always room for improvement on every one of these benchmarks, but we have specifically identified four that we will be working diligently to address in the next quarter.”

The four focused benchmarks include:

Goal Area: Customer-Focused

  1. The average time it takes for a customer services representative at the Utility Customer Service Center to answer a customer call: The goal is that calls will be answered in five minutes or less. The actual results for the first quarter were 8.53 minutes.

The Utilities Customer Service Center received nearly 60,000 calls in the first quarter. Longer wait times are attributed to staff turnover and training. Three new account reps will finish their training in December. The department continues to monitor this goal closely and will take further actions after training to ensure goals are met.

 

  1. The percentage of animal services calls that are held over to the following business day: The goal is to hold less than 5% of calls, and the actual results for the first quarter were 15%.

This is due to the high volume of calls normally experienced during summer months in addition to reduced staffing.

Goal Area: Quality

  1. The time elapsed from when the Fire Department is dispatched to when the first personnel arrive on scene: The goal is for personnel to arrive in less than 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The actual results for first quarter were an average time of 7.78 minutes. Over the past five fiscal years, the Fire Department has seen an increase in total calls of 20 percent. As the City looks to the future, considerations around additional staffing and an increased number of fire apparatus will need to be considered, as well as an analysis of deployment and call response times.
  1. The time elapsed between when the Police Department is dispatched to officer arrival on scene: The goal is for response times to be at or below the national average of 5 minutes. The first quarter average was 8 minutes and 37 seconds. During the first quarter, the Police Department was working to resolve 15 vacancies and responded to 28 gun-related calls in the month of August alone. These calls ranged from actual shootings to shots fired, but many of the calls were labor intensive which kept officers on the scenes longer, diminishing their ability for additional calls for service. In spite of the staffing shortage, it should be noted that 8:37 is an improvement over the first quarter of the previous fiscal year, and, in 2008, less than 30 percent of all police agencies were at or below the national target of 5 minutes or less.