City Council Priorities 


Quality of Place


Those features of physical environment and qualities of life that make a location a desirable, competitive and economically vibrant place to live


Objectives


  • Create an image campaign that communicates to and empowers citizens to get engaged with Quality of Place efforts
  • Invest in projects that improve livability for Springfieldians; including the beautification of City property, roadways and entryways
  • Revitalize Springfield’s neighborhoods
  • Invest in quality multi-modal transportation infrastructure
  • Attract and retain Springfield’s talent 
  • Incorporate, as appropriate, work of business community visioning group related to quality of place into the City’s comprehensive planning process
  • Proactively promote activities that instill community pride
  • Foster activities that promote a clean, safe and friendly neighborhood.
  • Apply significantly stricter enforcement approach to major and minor criminal violations, traffic violations, noise violations and nuisance law violations, utilizing measurable outcomes (e.g., metrics) and specific benchmarks.

Legislative Engagement


The deliberate formation of a positive relationship with local and regional legislative delegates to affect positive outcomes in legislative policy.


Objectives


  • Partner further with our region’s cities and organization to create a unified legislative voice
  • Serve as a subject matter trusted source for municipal issues
  • Work closely with the Missouri Legislature’s newly formed Local Government Caucus
  • More formally recognize the efforts of Springfield’s legislative delegation
  • Focus annually on the City’s top and most impactful priorities to ensure a clear legislative priority message.

Fiscal Sustainability and Accountability


The ability of a municipal organization to adequately meet its primary service delivery needs and financial commitments over the long-term, while also preserving a healthy financial condition based on municipal association best practices including accountability and transparency.

Objectives


  • Review existing revenue types, uses and limitations, and explore new revenue opportunities to meet future capital and operational needs
  • Determine the most reasonable means to grow existing revenue sources, including revenue diversification
  • Review bonding options and limitations to addressing future capital needs
  • Encourage ideas for improving operational efficiencies
  • Fully project and address deferred maintenance needs 
  • Examine enhanced cooperation opportunities with Greene County and other government entities 
  • Develop performance and financial accountability measures
  • Prudently maximize idle funds investment options
  • Enhance fiscal transparency through website functionality
  • Determine a strategy to strengthen the Parks financial position
  • Formally emphasize an organizational culture of service and inclusion.

Economic Vitality


A sustainable economic climate that fosters low poverty, affordable options for quality housing and wage levels that allow the opportunity for people to participate in quality of life endeavors.

Objectives


  • Enhance Springfield’s potential as a regional tourism hub for both traditional and sports tourism
  • Improve the efficiency and value of the development process
  • Review and refine the City’s annexation strategy 
  • Enhance efforts to stabilize and revitalize Springfield’s neighborhoods, recognizing we have some food desert challenges, and utilizing relevant Zone Blitz data and objectives
  • Review the provision of alternative forms of energy that are desired by business prospects
  • Strategically market and apply a targeted use of economic development incentives for big impact projects, while considering the most flexible and strategic use of all economic development incentive tools
  • Leverage the benefit of private, public, educational and medical partnerships 
  • Make proactive investments in public infrastructure for those areas with the highest potential for development and redevelopment
  • Be a partner to help close the skills gap within our community 
  • Improve the community’s attractiveness to business site selectors, with a focus on aggressively marketing our assets 
  • Align development interests with the priorities of place, design and safety 
  • Successfully complete the review of the City’s land use plan and effectively implement the outcomes, recognizing the importance to vibrantly emerge and thrive in the post COVID era. 

Public Safety 


The effective delivery of police, fire, 911 and emergency management service, including prevention efforts and protection from events that could endanger the safety of the general public from significant injury/harm or damage, such as crimes or disasters.

Objectives


  • Actively utilize existing public safety technology and review the application and benefit of new technology 
  • Address quality of life issues, with special emphasis on reducing chronic nuisance properties to ensure clean, safe neighborhoods 
  • Strongly encourage the empowerment of neighborhoods to identify and community needs and concerns 
  • Enhance community engagement and participation to increase crime prevention and public education efforts 
  • Make efforts to reduce traffic accidents by emphasizing the Education, Engineering and Enforcement approach 
  • Continue to utilize, promote and recommend alternative sentencing approaches where relevant to reduce warrant-related activities 
  • Establish a strategic approach to ensure sufficient adequate short-term and long-term staffing levels utilizing new and innovative measures, and determine the most effective geographic application of staff resources 
  • Place additional emphasis on the diversity of staff 
  • Apply significantly stricter enforcement approach to major and minor criminal violations, traffic violations, noise violations and nuisance law violations, utilizing measurable outcomes (e.g., metrics) and specific benchmarks
  • Coordinate with local community justice partners to determine an agreed upon strategic approach to enhanced community crime prevention, investigation and enforcement 
  • Work with community partners to identify and address the root causes of mental health issues 
  • Continue to focus on reducing public safety response times
  • Review alternative approaches to enhance compliance with municipal court orders 
  • Create a plan to transition from a complaint-based code enforcement approach to a City-initiated approach.

2021 Legislative Priorities



Retain Local Control


The City of Springfield opposes legislation that would reduce or remove local authority, including the setting of user and license fees.


Avoid Unfunded Mandates


The City of Springfield opposes any legislation that would result in a new net cost and related tax burden to the City of Springfield and/or its citizens.

Promote Public Safety


The City of Springfield supports legislation that promotes safe communities and reduces violent crime, including:
  • the funding of the newly established Pretrial Witness Protection Services Fund (2020 Special Sess., HB 66),
  • amending State law to match Federal law regarding the possession of handguns by minors
  • expand the collection of DNA samples by requiring a sample be collected from any individual aged 18 or older who is arrested for any felony crime as defined by the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, and
  • legislation that is intended to provide additional funding for rape kit testing, reduce the incidence of sexual assault, provide additional protections for victims of sexual assault, and require timely and ongoing sexual assault training for law enforcement, prosecutors and applicable court personnel.

Promote Economic Vitality


The City of Springfield supports legislation that strengthens Springfield’s ability to: compete for jobs, enhance education and workforce development, improve transportation (including additional gas tax funding), provide affordable housing, create healthy neighborhoods, stimulate downtown revitalization, grow tourism funding, and ensure broadband access for all citizens – all without compromising our natural environment. This includes adding Springfield to the list of cities enabled to form a Land Bank for the betterment of our neighborhoods.


Promote Fiscal Sustainability


The City of Springfield supports legislation that: honors municipal taxing independence, preserves current revenue streams, and ensures stable service delivery and infrastructure.

Promote Quality of Place


The City of Springfield supports legislation that: promotes projects that improve livability, strengthens our ability to retain and attract talent, enhances our neighborhoods, enriches our visitor experience, and encourages an inclusive and welcoming community.
  • We support legislation that requires the removal of covenant language from property deeds that prohibits ownership or occupancy due to race, gender, nationality or other similar factors.

Specific Priorities


Internet Sales Tax
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will “level the retail market playing field” in accordance with the intent of the recent South Dakota v. Wayfair Supreme Court case by appropriately including Internet sales in the current Sales Tax and/or Use Tax statute.

Hotel/Motel Tax
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation enabling the Springfield electorate to vote on a hotel/motel tax or a convention and tourism and/or convention and sport tax in addition to the hotel/motel tax at the same afforded to the voters in Kansas City and St. Louis. 

Statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
Missouri is the only state of 50 without a PDMP. As a result, the City of Springfield encourages our local delegation to introduce and support legislation to establish a statewide PDMP. Although the City of Springfield and Greene County have each implemented local PDMPs, this is truly an issue of statewide concern. 

Pay Day Loans
The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support legislation that will limit refinancing and cap the amount of interest that can be charged by pay-day loan and car title loan companies that tend to prey on the poor. According to the State Commissioner of Finance’s report to the Governor, the average interest rate for “pay day” loans in Missouri in 2019 was 474%.

Municipal Court
  • FACT Procedure – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce legislation that will reinstate the FACT Procedure. RSMo 302.341.2 eliminated the FACT (Failure to Appear in Court for Traffic Violation) driver’s license suspension procedure found in 302.341.1 for “minor traffic violations”. Under current law, the driver’s license for those who fail to appear in Municipal Court after receiving a citation can no longer be suspended for minor traffic violations. As a result, arrest warrants are immediately issued for these defendants. The FACT process allowed for driver’s license suspensions after a 30-day warning/grace period. This process gave defendants a chance to address their case prior to invoking the license suspension. Additionally, we have found a much higher compliance rate with the FACT process than with the warrant process. Other legal incentives that have the result of increasing court appearances are also supported. 
  • Municipal Court Warrants
    The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce legislation that will allow warrants for defendants that fail to follow court judgments. Repeal of sections 479.353(3) RSMo and 479.360.1(3) RSMo. Missouri Supreme Court Rule 37.65, effective July 1, 2015, comprehensively addresses how courts are to operate procedurally in enforcing judgments. We need the ability to utilize warrants for those that fail to abide by the judgment of the court or fail to show cause for not abiding by the judgment of the court.
  • Municipal Court Community Service Support
    The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support language to once again allow municipal courts that utilize community service in lieu of traditional sentencing obtain program cost recovery from non-indigent probationers.
Chronic Nuisance Properties and Dangerous Buildings 

Property Nuisances
  • Provide Accelerated Abatement Process for Chronic Nuisances – The City of Springfield asks our local delegation to introduce and support a bill that will allow a single, one-year notice for the abatement of tall grass and weed nuisances.
  • Allow violation notices to be sent only to property owners. 
  • Allow flexible notice mailing alternatives such as Fed Ex or UPS, as long as the recipient’s signature is required. 
  • Allow nuisance abatement costs to run with the land.
  • Allow recovery of all direct costs associated with processing and abatement of nuisances.
  • Review all statutory narrative for topic and definitional clarity
Dangerous/Unsafe Buildings
  • Allow flexible notice mailing alternatives such as Fed Ex or UPS, as long as the recipient’s signature is required. 
  • Allow recovery of all direct costs associated with processing and abatement. 
  • Allow for collecting of processing and abatement costs through the County Collector (real estate tax bill) in lieu of a special tax bill. 
  • Limit formal notice requirement to violation and need to abate only.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
The City of Springfield recently withdrew from participating in the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program due to insufficient residential consumer protections within the current statute. Our data highlighted numerous examples of disproportionately high energy efficiency project costs compared to the home’s value. This circumstance resulted in surprisingly high property tax bills for many residents, whereby the energy use savings does not come close to covering the project-related property tax increase. As a result, we strongly support amendments to the current law to adequately strengthen consumer protections and ensure statewide monitoring of the program’s application.