December 2011 (Current Version)
The Lee’s Summit Water Utilities Department’s Strategic Plan was adopted by the city council on December, 15 2011. The Strategic Plan is the result of a comprehensive assessment and a strategic planning process initiated by the Water Utilities Department. The Strategic Plan is intended to move the Utility from its current performance and service levels to an organization that provides services tailored to defined customer values and one that can be responsive to future customer needs.
What the assessment and planning process did
- Reviewed and evaluated the current Water Utilities processes through analysis of key performance indicators.
- Evaluated the utility on operational practices and procedures, long-term plans for infrastructure improvements, and financial viability in comparison to industry standards and benchmarks.
- Analyzed the department and its ability to meet customer expectations using customer and employee surveys and feedback from the Community Advisory Group (CAG). (The CAG is comprised of residential, business and commercial customers.) Click here to see formal survey results. Click here to see online survey results.
- Examined the current regulatory environment, the pressures of a changing economy, and the need for reinvestment in infrastructure.
- Identified areas of improvement and/or deficiencies based upon the EPA and industry recognized Effective Utility Management program.
- Identified operational forces and costs that impact the utility's ability to meet goals and developed strategies to address them.
The assessment revealed that the Lee’s Summit Water Utility Department has a high level of product quality, customer satisfaction, operation resiliency and water resources adequacy compared to other Kansas City metropolitan area utilities and accepted industry standards.
- Enhance the financial viability and sustainability of the Utility’s services.
- Continue successful operations to meet regulations, support infrastructure renewal, maintain capacity and maintain efficiency.
- Elevate customer relations through community engagement and increased responsiveness to customer expectations.
- Strengthen human resource capabilities through training and recognition.
Goals created by The Strategic Plan
- Elevate customer engagement and understanding.
- Use the new Utility Billing System to provide customers with comprehensive customer account information.
- Develop a new program to help customers manage risks related to sewer lateral repair costs.
- Develop a new program to reduce customer risks for financial exposure from sanitary sewer backups.
- Promote a hardship relief program.
- Encourage Potable Water Conservation.
- Make renewal and replacement a priority by allocating revenue for infrastructure rehabilitation projects.
- Establish and implement financial management policies to protect bond ratings, fund capital reinvestment and sustain the operational integrity and the financial health of the utility.
- Expand the Water Tap fee committee to include customer input on rates, fees, and other charges as necessary to sustain the Utility – Water Utility Advisory Board.
- Recast the water and wastewater projections to reflect recent developments and water usage trends.
- Leverage the use of technology to minimize operational risks and costs.
- Evaluate options to diversify or enhance revenues through contracts to purchase and or sell water.
- Apply condition assessments to support long-term renewal and rehabilitation programs.
- Improve operational effectiveness by replacing an obsolete and congested operations facility.
- Obtain a recognized utility certification.
- Complete risk management planning to maintain operational resiliency.
- Implement a meter replacement program.
- Reduce inflow and infiltration to reduce treatment costs and conserve sewer system hydraulic capacity.
- Employ sustainable practices where feasible.
- Work with employee groups to develop and implement employee training programs.
- Encourage networking through professional organizations and community engagement.
- Develop engineering capabilities to support unique water and wastewater needs.
- Develop and implement employee recognition and rewards program to promote best practices.
- Develop, implement, and management a succession plan to achieve long term continuity.
What the Water Department has done in response to the Strategic Plan
- Hired a Community Relations Specialist and enhanced project communication through events, social media, bill inserts and more. Created a communications plan.
- Implemented a new billing system that allows customers to access historical usage information and pay bills online.
- Redesigned billing statements to incorporate more information.
- Met with a service line warranty company to discuss collaboration.
- Created and distributed customer education materials on sewer lateral failures and how back-ups are caused and can be prevented.
- Researched hardship relief programs and how to implement a program in the billing program.
- Completed a Cost of Service Study and a 10-Year Financial Plan in 2012-2013. A 5 year rate schedule, based on the 10-Year Financial Plan, was approved by the City Council in 2013.
- Created the WaterSmart program.
- Created the Neighborhood Water Main Replacement Program and the Community Sewer Rehabilitation program (CIPP).
- Established the Water Utilities Advisory Board in 2012.
- Updated the water and wastewater master plans and CIP.
- Discussed purchasing excess water supply capacity with surrounding districts and other water suppliers. Adopted emergency supply agreements. Increased supply by adding 5 MGD.
- Developed preliminary plans to automate processes and minimize labor costs.
- Implemented preliminary standardized sewer line inspection ratings to develop a system wide condition index to define sewer line rehabilitation work.
- Built a new water facility that houses all the water staff, allowing for collaboration and future growth.
- Reviewed and assessed the emergency operations plan during and following the drought of 2012.
- Drafted a Meter Management Program to address the backlog of meter replacements and testing protocols.
- Started capacity and Inflow & Infiltration programs for the sanitary sewer system. Improved capacity in the Cedar Creek Basin. Established sewer rehabilitation projects across all drainage basins.
- Has been tracking and monitoring DNR operator training certifications, safety training, and health and wellness training.
- Has been involved with national and state AWWA organizations, the Suburban Water Coalition, the Metro Area Water Works, and APWA.
- Hired an Assistant Director of Engineering. Moved the Water Utilities Analyst position to Engineering. Added a Utilities Technician position.
- Developed the Employee Recognition Policy, Employee Recognition Committee, and Employee of the Quarter and Year awards. Developed the Employee Quarterly Newsletter" and the Bi-annual department employee recognition lunches.
Assessment Report and Strategic Plan Downloads:
Assessment Report (PDF 1.621MB)
Strategic Plan (PDF 1.344 MB).
View the December 8, 2011 presentation of the Strategic Plan to the City Council on the City's "Watch-LSTV" web page.
For more information about the Water Utilities Strategic Plan, call (816) 969-1900.
Formal Survey results used for the Assessment Report.
Online Survey results used for the Assessment Report.
The formal survey received 476 responses out of 1,500. The overall results have a precision of at least +/- 4.5% at a 95% level of confidence. Although the online results do not have the same level of confidence as the formal survey, the overall results are consistent with the formal survey.