City Manager's Corner

Lesson’s Learned

I learned two good lessons this last month.  1) The city will address storm debris much differently in the future and 2) reference the Ward 2 conversation with Councilman Mike Birdsong, preparations will be a bit different for future conversations.

I personally assessed the scope of damage to trees around the city after the latest “inland hurricane.”  With Waste Connections contracted with two large claw trucks for a total of 4.5 days, which should have been plenty, based on the initial assessment, the lesson learned here is, and I apologize, the initial assessment fell short.  After word went out and the debris pick up progressed, it appears some citizens took the opportunity to do tree trimming on top of the storm debris.  The effort grew to much more than storm debris only, thus overwhelming the initial plan, and impacting pick up for those that really had tree damage from the storm.  We had to make an adjustment to the plan.  As this effort was not in the City Budget, and we could not continue with the expensive claw trucks, we wanted to continue to offer some relief options rather than cut off assistance in total.  Thus, the option for roll-offs at Ten Acre Lake Park.  As of publishing this “corner,” the roll-off dumpsters were available from 14 September to 22 September.  I know people took the opportunity to use them, as the dumpsters were full on the first Monday morning, September 16th.  Citizens still have two other options available after 22 September:  1) cut the debris in 4 foot bundles and Waste Connections will pick it up during your regularly scheduled bulk pick-up, or 2) obtain a burn permit from the fire department.  Again, from these lessons learned, the City will adjust such efforts in the future.  

Councilman Birdsong’s Ward 2 Conversation was well received by the public and his Ward 2 constituents.  The Councilman was well prepared for most any questions.  We were pleasantly surprised by the tone of the event in that citizens came to converse and give positive input on working together to move Choctaw forward.  The lesson learned here was we weighted preparation efforts a bit too much on the negative aspects of Social Media, which in turn, shorted efforts to promote the positive goings-on in the City.  There was good discussion on roads, the way forward with roads, economic development, future business, and support to small business, Parks & Recreation efforts, and even a bit of historical preservation conversation.  All in all, well-received and worth all the preparation.  

Downtown Building update:  The City is in conversation with the Design firm on the possibility of a Public/Private Venture.  I will be meeting with potential developers in the near future—wanted to make sure I get word out that the effort is still working.  

The hotel contractor is hard-at-work clearing land and prepping for the concrete pad.  A lot of work and equipment moving in that area right now.  

The Roads Committee will be making recommendations to council and the public very soon.  Stay tuned for that outcome, and look for information on Starbucks very soon!

Your City Manager,

Ed Brown

--posted September 30, 2019