Weekly Update: Improving our 911 performance


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I promised to measure how we deliver city services, publicize those results and hold city officials accountable.

As a result of that new culture we’ve brought to City Hall, I’m happy to report some pretty significant accomplishments came to light when our division directors gathered this week, as they do every month, to review what the data says about our performance.

I’m particularly proud of the progress we’ve made in answering your 911 calls. The month before we took office, we answered 911 calls in an average of 59.7 seconds. (And a year and a half ago, it was 98.5 seconds.)

Thanks to a concerted effort from our administration, some details of which I shared a few weeks back, we’ve driven that number down big-time. In October, we reduced wait times to an average of 26.4 seconds -- a 56 percent improvement in less than a year.

It is the best such performance since we started reviewing the data. Here's the chart:

911 performance

There’s still work to be done, as the national standard is answering 95 percent of 911 calls in 20 seconds or less. In October, we met that standard 68.6 percent of the time -- yet another record, but an illustration that the work isn’t done.

As always, the full data set -- with records set by Memphis Animal Services and our MWBE spending effort  -- is posted here in the interest of transparency.

So, what are the common threads? I see two:

  1. When you actively work on managing and using data, and you pair that with motivated leaders and quality employees, good results come.
  2. We still have work to do -- and lots of it.

The back story: I hope you saw the news this week that Cargill and Calysta are integral to a new venture that will bring jobs -- 75, initially -- to Presidents Island.

Here’s what you may not have seen: Presented with the possibility of this new opportunity, but also presented with the hurdle of needing to construct a special pipeline to the site, I sought a creative financing solution to make sure we didn’t leave these jobs on the table. I’ve asked EDGE to offer the issuance of $8 million in revenue bonds -- paid not by tax dollars, but by money made by users of the pipeline -- to close the deal. This is merely an option we’ve made available; Cargill, Calysta and its investors will determine whether to use it.

We look for out-of-the-box solutions when it comes to making sure Memphis keeps its momentum, and this is evidence of that.

See you at 3.0: The kickoff rallies for Memphis 3.0, our first comprehensive planning process since 1981, started Monday. I’ve been at each rally thus far, and I’m very excited about the attendance and interest shown.

As I’ve said before, it isn’t just important to have public input; it’s essential. Memphis 3.0 simply won’t work without it. So I encourage everyone to pick a rally that’s convenient to you and let your voice be heard in how we shape our future.

Here’s the remaining schedule:

Today: Kate Sexton Community Center, 1235 Brown Avenue, 5:30 p.m.

Tomorrow: Orange Mound Services Center Complex, 2572 Park Avenue, 10 a.m.

Tomorrow: Whitehaven Community Center, 4318 Graceland Drive, 2 p.m.

Monday: Raleigh Community Center, 3678 Powers Road, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: East High School, 3206 Poplar Avenue, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Pipkin Building at the Fairgrounds, 940 Early Maxwell Blvd., 5:30 p.m.

Thursday: McFarland Community Center, 4955 Cottonwood Road, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 9: Bert Ferguson Community Center, 8505 Trinity Road, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 10: Cossitt Library, 33 S. Front Street, 10 a.m.

Saturday, Dec. 10: McWherter Senior Center, 1355 Estate Drive, 2 p.m.

Speaking of 3.0: You may have seen a story the other day that referenced the Frayser 20/20 plan. You should know that the Frayser 20/20 plan will be folded into Memphis 3.0 as part of the new plan’s vision for the entire city.

The components of Frayser 20/20 that were submitted as part of the 2014 budgeting process weren’t included in the prior administration’s budget proposal and didn’t receive council approval because a hefty amount of it was to go to overhead, not the useful parts.

Furthermore, the story notes that the 2014 council passed on the Frayser funding while giving large sums to Graceland and Crosstown Concourse. Graceland, however, was a tax increment financing zone designation -- not city funding. And of the $15 million commonly thrown around as our funding amount for Crosstown, much of that is actually federal funds.

Just wanted to make sure you knew the facts.

Bring home the trophies: Already, Lausanne Collegiate School, coached by my friend Kevin Locastro, has brought home a state high school football championship to Memphis. Congratulations, Lausanne! Saturday, we’ll have an opportunity to add more -- East, Trezevant, and Whitehaven each play for titles in their respective classifications.

Make us proud!


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