Beginning his report, Bonaparte noted the tough year Sanford had gone through in the media after the shooting of Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26 by George Zimmerman.
“We began the year with a bright outlook and vision – a year with many successful programs on tap and with a lot of opportunities for us,” said Bonaparte. “Needless to say that on Feb. 26, 2012 an event happened that changed Sanford and completely redefined some of the people’s opinions of the City of Sanford.”
The “unsung heroes” following this event, said Bonaparte, was the City Clerk Office’s, who fielded the 334 public records requests during the height of media’s attention to the case. By comparison, the City’s Clerk Office only had 94 regular public requests during the same period of time.
Showcasing each department in the city, Bonaparte listed the accomplishments of each:
• City Clerk Office: In addition to producing agendas and minutes for the city’s 50 meetings the group scanned in more than 11,000 documents into Laserfiche and destroyed more than 600 records.
• Community Development Block Grant: The department handled the more than $1 million received in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds and also provided $30,000 for a program that employed 30 youth. The department also partnered on a home for Habitat for Humanity and established a Homeless Task Force to assess homelessness in Sanford.
• Economic Development: Through funds provided by the Community Redevelopment Agency, the department was able to facilitate three renovations and expansions of businesses in downtown Sanford. The department also funded a Jobs Growth Incentive with JAMCO and spearheaded the positive marketing campaign for Sanford – “Friendly Sanford, A lot to Like.”
• Community Improvement: With the new Lien Amnesty Program the department approved 22 applicants and collected $46,362 in outstanding liens. The department also compiled registrations for foreclosed and vacant properties and implemented the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program case management software.
• Finance Department: Often an overlooked the department, the finance crew put together the city’s $87 million budget and completed the 2011 Comprehensive Financial Report which received a clean audit opinion.
• IT Division: Working to make the city more efficient, the IT Division updated equipment and software as well as moved the city’s cell phone network. The division also created a IT Steering Committee to hear from staff what IT needs to do to better assist them.
• Fire Department: The Fire Department also assisted during the Trayvon Martin events, activating the Emergency Operations Center for three major gatherings in Sanford. Additionally the Fire Department improved its classification through the Insurance Services Organization, which allows homeowners to receive lower home insurance.
• Building and Fire Prevention Division: The division handled the highest permit activity since 2008 and also improved the permitting process by allowing for faxing of permit receipts and credit card payments by phone.
• Human Resources: In addition to handling new hires and reviewing more than 3,000 applications this year the department also celebrated record low workers compensation claims with the Sixth Annual Safety Incentive Program.
• Public Works, Solid Waste Division: The division painted or replaced 670 front load dumpsters and created the “Adopt-A-Block Program.” The group also created the April and October Community Clean Up Program allowing for large pick-ups from residences for free.
• Public Works, Parks and Grounds: Working to gain money for the parks in Sanford, this division submitted and was awarded a $200,00 Land & Water Conservation Fund grant for Coastline Park. The group also updated various park signs in the city. In Fort Mellon Park they built a new operations facility and installed a solar panel system there to lower the cost of electricity.
• Public Works improvements: Public Works completed many projects including the Oak Avenue retention pond, the Oleander Road Extension and the Goldsboro Trail Phase II. They also rejuvenated 19 roads and upgraded stormwater infrastructure as well as completed other stormwater projects.
• Planning & Development: In addition to facilitating public meetings and processing permits the department completed a Wayfinding Sign Program, helped to rename 13th Street to Historic Goldsboro Boulevard and revised and updated the city’s Land Development Regulations.
• Police Department: The group recently received reaccreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement and initiated the Police Car Replacement Program which will result in budget savings. They also established new community services areas to help officers become better acquainted with residents.
• Recreation Department: By overseeing events the Recreation Department generated more than $15,000,000 in economic impact for the City of Sanford this year. The department also hosted several events for the city and hosted the Golden Age Games for the 38th time.
• Utility Department: In addition to relocating utilities for rehabilitation work on Sanford Avenue the department also completed water plant improvements. The department changed out meters as well to the automatic meter reader type.
A full copy of the City Manager’s Annual Report can be found online at the City of Sanford’s website at www.SanfordFL.gov or The Sanford Herald’s website at www.MySanfordHerald.com.