The Lazy Days of Summer

June 2nd, 2010  |  Published in Mayor's Column

As a boy growing up on a cotton and cattle farm in northwest Louisiana, the middle of The summer was a welcome time because by then it was too hot to work cattle, and the cotton was in a growth phase where we were just waiting to start spraing the crop for boll weevils and worms. With the city, however, we certainly don’t have the luxury of down-time during the summer months the way I did working my father’s farm, because this is one of our busiest times of the year.

Our work operations increase during the summer due to the favorable weather conditions and that spills over to a general increase in all departments. During this time of the year our mowers will cut the grass on over 600 miles of roadways. As we finish preparing our park facilities for baseball and softball games in the spring, we begin planning for soccer to return in the fall. We will host over 200 ball games on our fields and witness the arrival of over 12,000 spectators who will watch our ball players during their games and practices.

We will see our Garrett Park facilities utilized by over 20,000 children and adults as they use the park amenities for picnics, ball games, children playing, other recreational activities, and the 4th of July fireworks display. There will be over 350 children participating in the eight summer camps that the city hosts this year. This is a special year for our camps as we made them available at no charge so that everyone would have an opportunity to participate.

Our City Hall staff processes an average of 3,900 utility bills each month, and in June they also implemented a new payment option for utility customers so that they can now pay their bills online with a debit or credit card. The Engineering and Utility Department has been busy as they completed 473 work orders on utility repair calls and service requests during the 2nd quarter of 2010. This does not include calls that they received for utility repairs from storm-related outages. Additionally, they completed the installation of the fourth sewer lift station in a series of five sewer lift stations which were made possible by a $632,000 grant from the stats. This project will remove the main sewer lines out of the Rock Creek Watershed Area, and will reduce infiltration into our sewer system during heavy thunderstorms. We should complete the entire project by October of this year. And let us not forget, the garbage truck will make over 49,140 pick-ups of garbage the second half of this year.

By taking a look through my log of work activities by city personnel, you can certainly see that we’re staying busy. Now let’s take a look at the utility account growth, grouped by services, that we have captured during the last 10 years, and see if this can offer an explanation for why the workload of the city has increased.

Service

No. of Customers

Change %

2000

2010

Electric 2,236 2,968 32.7%
N. Gas 334 238 (28.7%)
Water 2,101 3,135 49.2%
Sewer 1,630 2,502 53.5%
Garbage 1,463 1,890 29.2%

As you can see, our growing population has certainly resulted in a growing demand for utility services which keeps us especially busy during this time of the year. While we continue to grow we will also continue to work hard to maintain a personal relationship with our customers while also trying to add cost reduction elements into our overall operations.

From all of us with the city we hope you have a great summer and if we can ever be of any help or assistance, please call us at your convenience.

God Bless,
Charlie