Best Practices

CITY OF GERMANTOWN
Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy

Citizen Volunteers on Commissions

Hundreds of citizens have contributed their time and expertise to the City of Germantown by serving on commissions, committees, boards and task forces. Germantown currently has more than 160 volunteers serving on 18 commissions. From the Youth to the Senior Citizens and from Economic Development to the Environmental, commissions cover the gamut of interests for citizens eager to get involved in the community.

The commissions are permanent bodies that meet regularly to discuss and recommend policy on pertinent issues. Task forces are formed on a temporary basis to study innovations or solve a specific problem. Each of the volunteer groups are established by ordinance or resolution, and the members serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Citizens are appointed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for a one-year term and may reapply if they wish to serve the following year.

Most of the commissions were set up to provide the Board of Mayor and Aldermen a level of expertise on subjects that were less familiar to them. The commissions study and research issues of concern to the City of Germantown and make recommendations to the Board based on their findings. The commissions have also been of great help to the city staff by assisting with projects and special events that keep the public apprised of commission and city activities.

An appreciation dinner is held in honor of the commission members each year. A buffet is provided, and the Mayor and other city officials recognize and thank the volunteers for their efforts on behalf of the city and the community.

The City of Germantown's commission structure has allowed the city to explore a wide range of interests and receive a great deal of input from the citizens. The commission members have proved to be an incredible asset to the Board as well as the city staff.

Contact: Judy Simerson, City Clerk, (901) 757-7251

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Access Together Agreement for Cable Television

The City of Germantown takes an innovative and creative approach to cable access programming by combining its resources with that of a local school and business in a project known as the Access Together Agreement. The agreement is a partnership between the City of Germantown, Germantown High School, Shelby County Schools and Time Warner Cable that enables the complete, unique and effective use of cable access television.

Under the agreement, the public, educational and governmental access programming are consolidated onto a single designated channel, GHS-TV, Channel 7, and housed in one location, Germantown High School. The city, the cable company and Shelby County Schools each contribute to funding for the operation. Management and production of all programming are the responsibility of the students, under the supervision of the Executive Producer, as part of the learning curriculum.

As a result, the city has a unique resource with which to increase community awareness about governmental affairs through live cablecasts of Board of Mayor and Alderman, Planning Commission and Design Review Commission meetings, and a monthly talk show. Shelby County Schools, and Germantown High School in particular, have the opportunity to provide a learning curriculum and television experience that few high schools enjoy. Time Warner Cable has a cost-effective way in which to fulfil its legal obligation to provide public access programming to the Germantown community. Because of the commitment and dedication of each entity involved, the partnership has proved to be a successful venture for more than 10 years. The Germantown cable access operation has become one of the finest studios and student training facilities in the country, winning numerous awards and recognition for its outstanding programming, and it has become a key source of information, education and entertainment for a growing community.

Contact: James Lewellen, Assistant City Administrator, (901) 757-7273

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Full Maintenance, Full Payout Fleet Leasing

In 1992, due to increasing costs related to the operation of the City of Germantown police fleet, alternatives were investigated. In the past, the Police Department had attempted to control these costs by retaining vehicles beyond what would have normally been their useful life. At the time of the study, the average age of the fleet was four years and the average vehicle mileage was 81,000. The oldest vehicle had been purchased in 1984 and the newest in 1991.

In 1991, a vehicle rehabilitation program was initiated. This program was begun with the expectation of being able to rehabilitate a vehicle twice. The venture was not feasible due to availability and cost of parts, body wear on the car, and escalating shop maintenance costs.

Specifications for a fleet of 30 vehicles with full maintenance were developed based on the needs of the Police Department. A request for bids was published and sent to local automobile dealerships and a pre-bid conference was held to answer any questions from the dealers.

The winning bid fixed the operational cost of the police fleet for a specified period; the City of Germantown will own the entire fleet when that period ends in December 1995. The decision has already been made to sell the fleet at that time and pursue another full-maintenance lease/purchase, based on the performance and financial savings of the current program.

Prior to the decision to lease, an analysis was done to determine the economic impact of leasing versus purchasing. Within the analysis, maintenance costs and capital replacement costs were compared to determine possible savings to the city. The savings comparison is listed below:

Annual cost of leasing with full maintenance

$543,864

Annual cost of owning with city shop maintenance

$908,753

Savings to the city with fleet leasing

$364,889

These costs are actual budgeted line items and reflective of the best estimates of continuing costs in the out years. The lease/ purchase costs are the actual bids received.

Contact: Patrick J. Lawton, (901) 757-7275

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