As we prepare for and enter 2019, allow me to first and foremost wish you and yours a Happy New Year.
In our city’s Strategic Plan, five priorities were set in the area of Sound Governance. Most of the goals in this priority area require continued diligence, because they are ongoing objectives that demand constant updating. The first of these is to operate in a fair and transparent manner. These days, transparency means providing access to information electronically. Did you know you can access the city commission agenda the Thursday before the meeting on our website, wiltonmanors.com?
There is also a calendar on the main page that provides up-to-date details on upcoming classes, meetings, and programs. If you’d like a permitting form, a video of a previous commission meeting, or details about the Strategic Plan, all are available on our website. In 2019, I will push our city to seize upon a clear area of opportunity and make more of the city’s website from our applications, forms, reservations, surveys, and payments as technology based and user friendly as a government doing business in the 21st Century should be.
Each year Wilton Manors works to enhance visitation and usage of our city website, and to this end we have seen a 5 percent increase in web traffic over the past year. We’ve made great strides in this area, and our staff has great plans for even more transparency. Social media engagement continues to grow with a 41 percent increase of followers across our platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), giving the city the ability to direct message stakeholders without relying on outside sources.
Our city staff takes real pride in providing excellent services to our community. Park and library visits exceeded half a million annually and our Leisure Services Department coordinated, organized, and facilitated more than 40 diverse, multi-generational, community based special events. But again, online reservations of our meeting and park space need to be something we adapt and evolve towards. And did you know that if you are a senior, we may be able to provide transportation to the grocery store, library, or doctor’s visits? Last year we provided more than 750 trips of this sort.
Wilton Manors is also in fine shape financially, meeting the goal of promoting and maintaining financial stability and integrity. In light of the continuing growth in Wilton Manors property values, and the city’s policy of budgetary restraint, the city commission reduced the millage rate for the seventh year in a row. We received a rebate of more than $78,000 for utilizing purchase cards instead of traditional invoice billing, and a returned premium of almost $20,000 related to lower than expected insurance claims for workers compensation, liability, and property. Our unassigned fund balance (reserves for emergencies) increased to about 17 percent.
Finally, the members of our Wilton Manors City Commission-appointed boards and committees are contributing their time and energy toward making our small town a better place to live. There are many examples for the hard work of these volunteers. As one such example, the Community Affairs Advisory Board (CAAB) conceived of, created, and printed a brochure called the Senior Resource Guide, which was distributed citywide and featured on our website and social media.
The Island City has now been designated as an Age Friendly Community by both the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and CAAB is conducting a survey to develop an action plan to make our city even more age friendly. Are you a senior? Take the survey! Go to wiltonmanors.com for more information.
Sound governance is just one more reason why “life‘s just better here in Wilton Manors. Next month, I’ll review the city’s efforts in Strategic Growth and Redevelopment.
In your service,
Justin S. Flippen, J.D.
"The People's Mayor"
City of Wilton Manors