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Miami News

Posted on: January 3, 2023

City of Miami 2022 Year in Review

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(MIAMI, OK.) What a year 2022 has been for the City of Miami! As the new year begins, here’s a look back at the City’s top highlights of projects, accomplishments, and events... the beginnings of resurgence.

After years of struggle against unnecessary flooding destruction and devastation, topping the list by priority and importance, the City of Miami rallied efforts for the ongoing pushback of GRDA’s (Grand River Dam Authority) relicense request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for operation of Pensacola Project No. 1494, most notably raising or keeping the level of Grand Lake higher. City efforts included a Town Hall event used to update and inform the community greatly affected by backwater flooding caused by GRDA’s operations and stressing the vital importance of these effects on Miami, past, present, and future. The Town Hall drew a large turnout of hundreds of residents and stakeholders.

The City’s legal and technical team’s steadfast efforts in the relicense matter saw meaningful and unprecedented response in 2022. Following a successful appeal by the City of Miami, the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in January 2022 that the City of Miami provided “powerful” evidence showing the Pensacola Dam’s operations caused flooding. In its decision, the D.C. Circuit found that FERC didn’t study the extensive evidence presented by the City and stated that FERC failed to address whether GRDA had acquired adequate rights to allow the flooding occurring in Miami. The ongoing years long battle between the City of Miami and the GRDA over the operations and relicensing request by GRDA for the operation of the Pensacola Dam Project No. 1494 continues with an ever determined and renewed spirit carried on into 2023’s proceedings.

Despite having over 112 miles of city streets with an estimate of 40 percent of Miami’s streets in need of major repair or replacement and 30 percent in need of crack and seal work, with 30 percent having been recently repaired or replaced and now in good condition, progress is being made. Stressed by the Miami City Council, administration, staff and residents as another top priority for 2022, substantial work on infrastructure repair, improvements, and replacement was completed. The City of Miami completed $583,758 in street projects for fiscal year 2021-2022 and has budgeted a commitment of little over $3.2 million for fiscal year 2022-2023 for continued street work and replacement. Utility infrastructure work and improvement also continued throughout the year with electric line and pole replacement across the Neosho River accomplished, and numerous water line repair and replacement projects completed throughout Miami.

With a need for greater opportunity for the community, quality of life projects topped the list as well, and one of the most popular City projects underway this year has been the new Splash Pad Park improvements including the Pirate Ship playground equipment installed this year, which has been a well enjoyed addition to the park by area children. Listening to residents, the Parks Department has plans to install swings to accommodate all children’s needs, and place fencing as an added safety barrier at the park.

Knowing the value of athletics and team sports, especially for Miami’s youth and teens, Miami Parks and Rec crews have been making improvements to existing sports venues for adults and youth by adding amenities such as the newly resurfaced skate park ramps, tennis courts, and the addition of new Pickleball courts, and updates of existing baseball and softball complexes. Youth soccer field improvements are well underway for spring use. 

Community events throughout the year brought residents together, welcomed home MHS alumni, and drew visitors from across the nation and world to Miami. The 2nd year of the exciting Miami Route 66 Heritage Fest’s various activities and free concerts drew large crowds, including the BBQ cook off, and car show. Rodeo Miami once again ranked as a top event in the rodeo world. Huge turnouts for holiday activities including Sweet Street which brought thousands out for Halloween treats and festivities, and the Miami Community Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade, showed a renewed/rekindled desire to gather to celebrate as a community.

Under oversight and direction of the Miami City Council and City Manager Bo Reese, the City of Miami’s financial performance and administrative effectiveness drew top rankings and awards in 2022, earning the Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce Impact Award. The City of Miami also received the highest score in 10 years using the Performeter, an assessment methodology used by Crawford & Associates, a professional accounting firm, to analyze and report the City’s financial health and success. The score was also one of the highest achieved in the state this fiscal year. Miami received an overall rating of 8.3 on a scale from one the lowest to ten the highest, for fiscal year 2020/2021.

Despite the challenges facing Miami, 2022 saw a large growth of new businesses open their doors in Miami, with many more in the works for 2023.  Many existing businesses expanded services, remodeled, or moved to new locations, a sign of resurging economic health and growth.

To improve life in the City and address the needs of the most vulnerable, a big shift in the City of Miami’s Animal Ordinance was enacted to help deal with the growing population of stray cats, and dangerous or unwanted dogs, and addresses irresponsible pet ownership in Miami. The new ordinance includes a “trap, neuter and return” policy for stray community cats. All dogs and other animals as listed in the ordinance brought to the shelter or taken in by Animal Control will be spayed or neutered and vaccinated, unless proof of such is provided, before release to owners or adoption proceeds.

In the face of newer Oklahoma law making many once felony-level crimes misdemeanors, and in an overall effort to improve community public safety and add retention and recruitment incentives, the Miami City Council approved raises and increased benefits for both Miami Firefighters and Police Officers who serve our community with dedication to protect our residents.

New faces stepped up to serve the community such as Miami City Councilman Brad Williams, and MAEDS Executive Director Shannon Duhon, and new tribal leader and committee and board members lending their diverse expertise and voices. 

Regional government, business and industry partnerships provided greater strength and concerted efforts on behalf of the entire community. Tribal partnerships with the nations of the Miami, Peoria, Ottawa, Quapaw, Modoc, Seneca-Cayuga, Wyandotte, Shawnee and Eastern Shawnee and Cherokee tribes made several community projects obtainable such as a new Outdoor Learning Environment now in progress at the Splash Pad Park, alliance with downtown redevelopment, and help with freeing funds in the case of the PCAx prepayment to avoid interest costs for Miami utility customers on top of charges handed down by GRDA for the Uri extreme weather storm to recoup natural gas costs they used for power generation.

The biggest asset to Miami in 2022, according to Miami City Manager Bo Reese are the City’s 231 employees who maintain our facilities, keep IT  programs up and running, file records, collect trash, fix broken water lines in freezing cold muddy trenches, mow grass in blazing heat, take emergency calls and dispatch help, and so much more…who serve the 12,885 citizens of Miami to provide services and make Miami a great place to live, work and visit.

“The most important aspects of Miami’s success in 2022 can be attributed to the great partnerships, dedicated Mayor, City Council and staff and employees, community support, and spirit of the residents,” Miami City Manager Bo Reese said. “Everything we do at the City of Miami is focused to serve the overall well-being of the residents of this great community and we look forward to what can be accomplished together in 2023.”    

 

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