2020 in Review: Providing exceptional service

2020 in Review: Providing exceptional service in a pandemic
Posted on 12/28/2020

The City of Lenexa takes pride in providing high-quality services for those who live and work here, and that commitment continued during the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff found ways to improve existing services and maintain high productivity in spite of the year’s challenges.

City government won national service award

The City of Lenexa was proud to win a “Leading the Way” award from ETC Institute in 2020 in recognition of outstanding achievement in the delivery of services to residents.

Recipients of the award ranked in the top 10% of local governments across the country in regard to their composite performances in three core areas assessed on ETC Institute’s DirectionFinder survey:

  • Satisfaction with the overall quality of services.
  • Satisfaction with customer service provided by employees.
  • Satisfaction with the value residents think they receive for local taxes and fees.

Lenexa is proud to be one of only 16 communities across the United States to receive the award in its inaugural year.

Learn more

Staff adapted to sustain top productivity

The crews responsible for maintaining our infrastructure and parks were hard at work in the field, even during the stay-at-home order. Taking precautions like staggering start times for crews helped keep staff safely on the job without sacrificing work output.

The pandemic provided some unusual opportunities, too. Crews were able to accelerate pavement work on Renner and College Boulevards during the stay-at-home order, when there would be less disruptions for traffic. With no need to set up for major festivals, Parks staff had more time to catch up on maintenance projects.

As construction boomed this year, staff completed record numbers of inspections, which often involve close contact with others. They found conducting video inspections was convenient for both parties, saved gas and drive time and prevented COVID-19 exposures. It’s now an option for inspections at existing homes, too.

New pet licenses brought peace of mind

Have you purchased your 2021 pet license yet? This year, we started using new pet tags that come with several features to help return lost animals to their owners more quickly. Renew or get a new license at PetData.com.

Pandemic changes identified long-term opportunities for Municipal Court

Keeping Municipal Court operations moving smoothly and safely was challenging, but staff found that many of the changes they implemented will be good long-term enhancements to customer service.

In addition to physical changes in the lobby and courtroom, they added more court times to allow for smaller dockets. Virtual court options eliminated the need for personal appearances, and all attorney dockets were virtual only. Defendants could also wait in their cars and check in via phone, then wait for a text message to let them know it was their turn to speak to the judge or prosecutor.

Farmers Market brought fresh food in a safe environment

Shopping — and staying — close to home had a whole new meaning in 2020. Lenexa Farmers Market staff and vendors worked hard to adjust operations and provide our community with critical access to fresh, local food in the safest way possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, many vendors developed online ordering options to better serve customers.

The Market featured products from 30 farmers and makers and attracted 15,000 shoppers during the regular season. It also offered a Winter Farmers Market for the first time in January and February, in addition to its third annual Holiday Farmers Markets.

Pandemic’s financial disruptions impacted budget and project planning

Balancing the City of Lenexa’s overall goal of providing outstanding services to the community with the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects has been top of mind while City leaders plan for 2021.

Lenexa ended 2019 in a strong financial position with healthy reserve balances. Once the pandemic began, staff were able to use reserves and other short-term measures — like leaving positions vacant, delaying some capital projects and delaying other operating expenses — to mitigate its effects.

The ongoing financial impact of the pandemic on the City’s revenue is still uncertain. For 2021, staff are projecting decreases in sales and use tax, investment income, special liquor tax, transient guest tax and other revenue sources. Assessed valuation has increased, partly due to strong construction growth throughout 2020.

In August, the Governing Body approved a 2021 Budget that slightly lowers the property tax rate to 29.242 mills (down from 29.319 mills in 2020) and decreases expenses by about $4 million.

The Governing Body then typically approves the next budget year’s Capital Improvement Program in late fall. With much uncertainty around the financial disruptions of the pandemic, City leaders decided to wait until spring 2021 to make decisions about major capital projects.

By March 2021, the City will have preliminary real estate assessed valuation, property tax and special assessment collection amounts for the January 2021 distribution and sales/use tax collection amounts for the holiday season. This data will help the City leaders to decide:

  • Whether additional adjustments to expenditures will be necessary in 2021.
  • Which major capital projects can move forward in 2021 and if any will need to be delayed.

Learn more about Lenexa's 2021 Budget

Published December 28, 2020