Thursday, January 28, 2016

Stretching Your Tax Dollars - Part 3

Public Works saved $10,000 by building this salt brine mixer instead of buying one.
The tank is dual purpose and can be cleaned out and used for watering trees in the summer.
The pump is dual purpose and can be removed for pumping flood waters when needed.
These tanks can each hold 275 gallons of pre-mixed salt brine for applying to
the roads when there is snow and ice expected.
City of Sikeston staff is always looking for ways to save money and stretch the precious tax dollars we receive from our citizens. The latest example is from our Public Works Department, who this week put the final touches on a "home made" salt brine mixer. Salt brine is a mixture of salt and water that can be applied directly to the streets before snow and ice hits, or it can be sprayed onto rock salt to help the salt stick to the streets when it is spread.

The total cost for Public Works to build this salt brine mixer from existing equipment and some new materials was $1,001. When we sought bids for a ready-made salt brine mixer the lowest bid received was $11,846, meaning that our Public Works staff saved over $10,000 in taxpayer money using their own creativity and mechanical skills!   

Dark, Wet and Cold

City snow plows clear the airport runway after spending all night plowing the streets. 

I like to use this blog to show some of the "behind the scenes" work of city employees; things that the general public probably doesn't get to see firsthand very often. Last week we had very cold temperatures and one round of snowy weather in Sikeston. Both our Public Works and Public Safety departments are on high alert during winter storms, dealing with difficult and sometimes dangerous situations.

During the day before the storm hit overnight, Public Works employees (both Street and Park divisions) were on the streets salting intersections, hills, curves, and other areas that can be troublesome when there is snow and ice on the ground. Those crews went home at the end of their normal shift in the afternoon and were on call to return overnight whenever the weather arrived. At about 1:00 a.m. crews were called back in to start plowing the streets, and they worked throughout the night and into the next day.

Public Safety Officers were also hard at work doing their normal patrols overnight during the storm, but then around 5:00 a.m. the Department of Public Safety (DPS) also received a call for mutual aid at a fire at a manufacturing facility in a neighboring community. Sikeston DPS crews were on scene at that fire until around 9:00 a.m. Ironically, cold was perhaps as much a threat as heat to these firefighters, who were struggled to stay dry while spraying water in the extremely cold pre-dawn fire response.

Later that afternoon, DPS received another call for mutual aid, this time from the Scott County Sheriff's Office for help with a search for a missing person. DPS sent search and rescue personnel and our mobile command unit, from which the search could be coordinated in the sub-freezing temperatures.

While most of us were sleeping or staying inside where it was warm and dry, city employees in the Public Works and Public Safety Departments were plowing streets, spreading salt, working traffic accidents, and searching the woods for a missing person. I'm grateful for the public servants who keep our city community running even in the dark, wet and cold of a winter storm.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Following Through on Promises

In November 2015, voters overwhelming approved a new 1/2 cent sales tax in Sikeston, for the purposes of funding Public Safety, Streets and Parks. The City Council pledged that half of the new revenues would be used to make our Public Safety salaries more market competitive, and the other half would fund new capital improvements in our Streets and Parks divisions. To demonstrate the city's commitment to following through on those promises made to the voters, we've just launched a new webpage where we explain what we've done with Public Safety salaries, and where we'll track the Streets and Parks projects as they are completed. #BuildingTrustThroughTransparency

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Annual Audit: Clean Again!

Did you know that the city undergoes an independent audit of its financial statements by a certified public accountant every year? And that the audit reports are available for free public viewing 24/7 on the city's website? The audit of the Fiscal Year 2015 financials has been completed and is now available at

Once again, we received a "clean" or unqualified opinion on our finances. Highlights include: 
  • The auditor’s report expresses an unqualified opinion on the financial statements of the City of Sikeston (in other words, the auditor found no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses).
  • No significant deficiencies were found in the financial statements’ compliance with generally accepted accounting principles and the requirements of the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB).
  • No material weaknesses in internal controls were found.
  • No material weaknesses in compliance with federal award programs were found.