March 19, 2018
Bond project committee seeks to keep public apprised
MURPHY (March 19, 2018) The long and often forgotten lifeline that characterizes bond-financed Capital Improvement Projects tends to obscure them from the memory of the communities that voted for them in the first place.
“The long trajectory for completion of many of these projects is necessary,” says Murphy City Manager Mike Castro, PhD. “After a few months, residents become accustomed to the reconstruction of a major thoroughfare, or the upgrading of infrastructure projects. They learn to live with the inconveniences, perhaps forgetting them altogether.”
But, ensuring that a continuous and accurate assessment of the progress of these projects, along with the accompanying effort to share that information with the public, are essential parts of the latest CIP bond program.
“There is a sacred trust that the community of Murphy has placed in its elected officials, and subsequently with the staff, regarding the current bond program,” added Castro. “My commitment is to ensure that we have a steady stream of information available for anyone wishing to learn about where we are with every aspect of every project. Transparency, along with a quick and easy way of obtaining information, are paramount.”
To that end, Castro has assembled a cross-functional team of employees who meet with him at least monthly to report on the progress of each project from a variety of different aspects. Members of the team, informally called the Post Bond Election Progress team, includes director-level representatives from Public Works, Finance, Police, Fire, City Secretary, Human Resources, Information Technology and Community Development.
The team meetings are conducted by the City Manager and are designed to share the latest information on the progress of every aspect of every project, even at this early stage.
Reports on the financing side of the individual projects are included alongside updates on the status of construction schedules, crews, subcontractors and communication to residents directly affected by each project. Information on the hiring or reassigning of key personnel, plans for traffic rerouting, placing of detour signs, how emergency vehicles will navigate detours, the impact of projects to existing or potential residential or commercial developments, and how the public will be informed on these changes are revealed and discussed at the meetings.
Of particular interest during these sessions is the updating of information on the City of Murphy website. An entire section of the website has been dedicated to the projects included in the bond program. Up-to-the-minute updates on the status of projects is included, intended to provide the latest and most accurate information in real time.
And, a two-person subgroup of the team, called pomp and circumstance, is tasked with the public ground-breaking ceremonies to signal the symbolic start of major projects.
“Our commitment to ensuring clear, up-to-date information is non-negotiable,” said Castro. “Residents have a right to know the status of the projects they have approved and entrusted to us. We won’t work in an information vacuum.”
Visit www.murphytx.org and click on Capital Projects Bond Program under the Spotlight section.