ActivePaper Archive Hobbs city manager lists accomplishments during three-year tenure - Hobbs News Sun, 7/19/2015

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Hobbs city manager lists accomplishments during three-year tenure

In setting a vision for the future it is imperative to review our past and present actions, acknowledge successes and failures and learn from both. As I approach my three-year anniversary with the city, I wanted to share with the Citizens of Hobbs a recap of the accomplishments that your city government has made during my tenure as city manager. It is important to note that none of these accomplishments could be done alone and that the residents of Hobbs and I are lucky to have the dedication of the city commission and an incredible team of city staff.

City of Hobbs Three-year Accomplishments

• Exercised fiscal discipline during economic boom and increased financial surplus. Staff of approximately 500 employees delivered the following achievements during a significant growth period:

• Preserved “AAA” bond rating and improved financial position

• Started year one with projected 30 percent budgeted reserve — ended the first year with over $16 million budget surplus and 40 percent reserve

• Started year two with projected 30 percent budgeted reserve — ended the year with over $20 million budget surplus, 40 percent reserve and $115 million in the bank

• Started year three with projected 30 percent budgeted reserve – ended the third year with over $15 million budget surplus and 47 percent reserve and $120 million in the bank

• Facilitated multiple public/private partnerships to move key projects forward that had previously stalled:

• Consensus building efforts in the community resulted in unanimous support from the city commission to fund a new $12 million community links golf course. This was the first of its kind and enhanced quality of life. The course was nominated as one of the best new courses across the country by Golf Digest Magazine.

• Collaborated with Lea County, New Mexico Junior College, University of the Southwest, Hobbs Municipal Schools, and the J. F Maddox Foundation to design a health, wellness, and learning center; partners’ contributions equaled more than 50 percent of capital ($36 million) and operational costs ($700,000 yearly).

• Fostered multiple public presentations which generated support from various community groups to approve a water conservation effort. Water conservation efforts have led to millions of gallons of water being saved every month.

• Developed new avenues to improve partnerships for public safety initiatives.

• Increased the Hobbs police force by over 40 percent (62 to 98 sworn).

• Crafted new hiring incentives which reward longer employment commitments for recruits.

• Created unparalleled partnerships with County drug task force and the New Mexico Dept. of Public Safety to boost numbers on the drug task force.

• Hired an additional attorney to work part-time assisting the District Attorney (County) in fighting drug cases in Lea County.

• Added fire department staffing to enable stations to respond to multiple incidents simultaneously.

• During financial boom, we created a strategy to reduce long-term legacy costs and better compete for grants.

• Delivered internal and external LED lighting project where we spent close to $2 million and will reap a four-year return on investment.

• City has been awarded three affordable housing grants in the last two years, delivering commitments of over $35 million in much needed affordable housing in our community.

• We presented an appeal to the Water Trust Board, after being rejected for a competitive grant, for a much needed project. The decision was reversed, and over $3 million has been awarded in last two years for a critical project providing five miles of effluent lines

• Converted employee health insurance from a fully insured to a self-funded plan; savings were reinvested to defer future annual health care increases for employees; projected savings are approximately $800,000 annually.

Other Successes

• Developed a partnership with Hobbs Municipal Schools to implement a $5 million turf project — significantly increasing hotel stays which will continue to increase for added tournaments due to state-of-the art fields for baseball/softball. Fields were used as a neutral site for multiple Texas State playoff games over the last few months

• At the start of oil price slide, the staff and I crafted a plan that was adopted by the city commission to cut $10 million out of the 2015 budgeted expenditures and reduced vacancies by 46 percent while maintaining the current level of city services.

• Started the Public Art Committee and collaborated with partners to deliver the first two pieces of outside public art.

• Built four new splash pads in the neighborhoods, allowing the youth to cool off and keep themselves entertained during the summer months.

• Provided a much needed $3 million renovation to our outdated city library facility.

• Replaced more than five miles of sewer lines. All of these positive accomplishments were achieved through collaboration, commitment to this community and fiscal responsibility. Your city government team has even more vision for continued improvement for Hobbs to continue this trend. The Health, Wellness, & Learning Center and Taylor Ranch projects are both actively moving forward and will improve our quality of life in Hobbs. Infrastructure improvements and renovations will also continue. The city has adopted a budget for the upcoming year that will take into account the economic realities that Hobbs is experiencing, including the potential impact of reduced GRTs in the coming months. The city commission was actively involved in the budget process and has listened to its constituents’ concerns. Our budget for fiscal year 2016 equates to a 45 percent budget reserve, which increases our reserve balance by more than $15 million over last year. In conclusion, I am very proud to be a part of this amazing team … a team of commissioners, staff and a community who, together, have experienced many successes, achieved many goals and continue to create more opportunities for this wonderful city to excel and grow.

J.J. Murphy is the city manager for the City of Hobbs.