(The following blog article was written by guest blogger Dorothy Wing of the City of Fort Worth, an eCivis client since 2012. She can be reached at Dorothy@YourVirtualVP.com.)
The Texas Municipal League (TML) annual conference, held last month, was especially meaningful this year for the City of Fort Worth. City Council member Jungus Jordan was installed as the new president of TML. A longtime advocate of identifying and addressing transportation issues in the North Texas region, Jordan is expected to stamp his tenure with a focus on his trademark cause.
Jordan announced the creation of a 15-member TML committee that will work with the Texas Department of Transportation on a plan to help cities voluntarily take over maintenance responsibilities for some state highways. That plan, proposed by state transportation officials in August, would shift maintenance of nearly 1,900 miles of urban state highways to cities and would save the state $165 million in maintenance costs. The new committee also will explore long-term funding options to address the transportation challenges that have resulted from Texas’ quickly expanding population.
Jordan also plans to stress the importance of partnerships between cities and the state to address infrastructure needs, and supports ballot initiatives to bolster water resources and shore up the state’s transportation network.
TML Municipal Excellence Awards
The Texas Municipal League Municipal Excellence Awards recognize and encourage the achievements of Texas cities in meeting the challenge of municipal government. Innovative problem-solving, excellence in management, increasing citizen participation, and reaching toward higher service levels are all daily occurrences in Texas cities, and they deserve recognition. The awards program seeks out the best of these programs to honor. It is through the recognition of the best of the best that all Texas cities share and learn from these achievements. Congratulations to the cities of Aledo, Belton, Galveston, Grand Prairie, Kaufman, Nassau Bay, San Angelo, Seabrook, Tyler, University Park, and Webster for receiving TML Municipal Excellence Awards on the opening day of the conference!
Fort Worth Grants Management Success
Shirley Little, Manager of Government and Legislative Affairs for the City of Fort Worth, and I presented “Grants at a Glance” on the “How Did They Do That?” track of the conference. We described how we chose the eCivis grants management system and how it has proved to be a valuable tool for grant research and management.
The City of Fort Worth’s challenges included a de-centralized grants process, steadily decreasing general fund budget, audit findings, and a need for advocacy with funding agencies. The City Council’s Legislative Committee requested that we identify and implement a grants tracking system that would:
- Report all active grants awarded to the City
- Identify eligible grants that fit City needs
- Track grants from pre-award through contract
- Provide master calendar for report due dates
- Provide monthly reports for grant deliverables, expenditures and revenues
- Provide alerts for advocacy by council and consultants
We chose eCivis for its grants tracking software, and the benefits of implementation have included:
- Custom reporting with the ability to export
- Analysis by department or project
- Task management to ensure accountability
- Unlimited document uploading
- Both programmatic and financial tracking
- Improved audit trail
- Financial integration with ERP
With the eCivis system in place, we know how many/which projects are funded by grants; we know when grants are being considered, so we can manage timely legal review, cross-department communication, and advocacy; and we know about $500 million in grants to help fund the City of Fort Worth.
We also have stable, consistent records. Now we don’t have to worry about where a file, notebook, or box is in order to retrieve grant information. We don’t have to be concerned that a box has gotten wet, or covered with cobwebs in a basement.
We can answer questions from Council or the management team about grants without spending days trying to find the right person in the right department. Instead of gathering masses of data, we simply have “Grants at a Glance.”
About the Author
Dorothy Wing has 40 years experience providing strategic counsel to chief executives, upper management, elected officials, and boards of directors. She owns her own consulting firm, providing the City of Fort Worth with grants management and government relations assistance, procurement assistance to clients who wish to do business in or with the City, and fundraising support for Leadership Fort Worth, and manages the capital campaign for Camp Fire First Texas. As the capital campaign manager for Camp El Tesoro, she developed and is implementing a strategic plan that has resulted in raising $8.2 million to date of the $10.7 million total goal.