2016 State of the City Message from Mayor Jim Collins and the Leadership Team of the City of Las Animas.

2016 State of the City Message from Mayor Jim Collins and the Leadership Team of the City of Las Animas.

Over the next few weeks, it is a pleasure to develop the story of the state of the City of Las Animas as it relates to how we have achieved successes and are working through challenges to make our community the best it can be.

First, the introduction:

Just over a year ago, as the 2015 election was completed and we began our tenure as a Leadership Team, the shared belief was that the state of the city was in a good position to move forward with a strategic plan to move from good to great. Now that the first year is completed, and we have evaluated our implementation of that same strategic plan it is an honor to report that our city has moved forward significantly on the path from good to great. This is not to say that a great deal of work is yet to be done, but thanks to an outstanding team of leaders we are once again in position to continue to move toward becoming an even greater City and Community.

While the strategic plan is based around a five pointed set of focal areas, we have made significant gains in several of the points, and have a significant amount of work to do to continue to make gains in the others.

First, let's focus on the positive growths and they have been in the areas of engaging and involving the community, infrastructure sustainment and improvement, and fiscal responsibility and transparency. Each of these areas saw challenges throughout the initial months of the year and through great leadership in their respective departments have made great progress.

As a conclusion, we will focus on the plans to work more directly on the areas of safety and security of community as well as economic development.

In the City Hall and the City Clerk's department, the year began with a big disaster when we had a water leak the night after Christmas 2015 and then spent the next 4 months doing recovery and reconstruction on the entire City Hall. While this was an intense time of challenge, the result was that the community now has a City Hall that it can be even more proud of and the removal of asbestos as part of the project also makes it a bit safer for all who enter within. We also had the great opportunity in the summer to spend some quality time with Richard Gallegos, who was interning with the help of Las Animas School District. Richard was a phenomenal asset for the department and was truly an honor to work with; he is a brilliant young man with a future that is sure to be unlimited in whatever he chooses to pursue. Another great addition to the team is Jasmine Johnston who came to us as a utility account clerk as a formal title, but in reality has become much more than that. Jasmine is a 2013 graduate of Las Animas High School and a 2016 graduate from Otero Junior College. Her willingness to go above and beyond and ability to quickly grasp challenging concepts have identified her as an asset with unlimited future possibilities as well.

One of the greatest upgrades for the City Clerk's Department and the city overall has been the completion of the official city website to allow for a huge amount of information to be provided at the click of a mouse, and also most recently for the ability to do online bill paying due to the latest upgrade. This ability will be a great tool that allows the community to take care of their bill paying without ever leaving home, or even more importantly they can view their bill and check different aspects of it from anywhere the internet is available.

One of the most significant focal points that we wanted to improve on was being able to engage and involve the community in multiple areas, and the development of the website and the Facebook page has made this a reality. These two tools allow for important information to be provided to a great many people in a relatively short time and has allowed for a significant improvement in this area.