City manager celebrates first anniversary
By Joe Southern
After a year on the job as Missouri City’s city manager, Anthony Snipes has a lot of accomplishments to look back on.
He’s more concerned, however, with what’s ahead. His first year was spent organizing and positioning the city to better serve the citizenry and to be more fiscally responsible and open and transparent in its operations.
“We’re very fortunate to have folks who understand the importance of public service,” he said.
Snipes is quick to give credit to those around him. Those people, however, are there on purpose and for a purpose. Since coming on board, he has helped hire several department heads, including the fire chief, parks and recreation director and finance director. Additionally, the city hired its first Chief Performance Officer to track strategic objectives and goals.
“Anthony (Snipes) has come on board and really worked hard to put together a team of top performing individuals,” said Mayor Allen Owen. “He has set in place some performance standards that will take our city to the next level with the service provided to our citizens.”
Teambuilding has been essential for Snipes. He has created an employee engagement program led by an Employee Engagement Group that strives to recognize the work done by city employees.
“We have a holistic strategy that allows our employees to be successful,” he said.
That strategy includes making Missouri City a High Performance Organization. He said that means using the HPO framework to “introduce all teams to proven management techniques that result in a work culture based on the decisions and leadership of employees across all levels.”
To help employees, this year the city absorbed the increase in health insurance. The city also regularly reviews salaries with neighboring cities and counties the assure compensations are at market rate.
“We do a biannual market review to make sure we don’t lose talent,” he said.
By taking care of the city employees, he has high expectations that they will take care of their ultimate employers – the citizens of Missouri City. To do that, he has established five metrics to measure success. They are in the areas of communications, customer service, workforce development, open government and innovation, and diversity and inclusion.
All of that is in line with the objectives city council gave him when they hired him last December. Those objectives included improving the city’s image, long-term planning, long-term economic development, working with the Municipal Utility Districts, improving solid waste services, working on groundwater issues, and making the city a High Performance Organization.
“We’ve effectively addressed everyone of those areas in a great way,” he said.
Again, he was quick to praise those around him.
“We have a very good employee base here at the city doing more for less,” he said.
He said one of his bigger challenges is working with the MUDs in the area, as some are in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and others are in Houston’s.
“We have one of the largest concentrations of Municipal Utility Districts in the state,” he said.
Among some of the other things accomplished in the last year are the establishment of the nonprofit Missouri City Parks Foundation, updating the city’s comprehensive plan, an overhaul of the city’s website, and planning and designing a future City Hall plaza that features a veteran’s memorial, amphitheater, public artwork and other landmarks. Houston Community College is building a campus adjacent to City Hall and the library will be expanded on the campus.
“It’s a place where the whole community can come together,” he said.
The achievements don’t stop there. He helped the city refinance bonds that will save the city over $10 million. The city has also approved new financial policies and is on course to create a 25 percent fund balance.
Missouri City was named a 2016 All-America City Award Finalist by the National Civil League, marking it one of the top 20 cities in the nation.
“It’s a good acknowledgement of the work that we’re doing,” Snipes said.
Another thing Snipes said he is proud of is the way things have turned around for the Quail Valley Golf Course. It became a public relations nightmare when the city took it over in 2008. Critics called it a money pit and something many residents didn’t want the city to be saddled with.
“Last year was our best year yet. Our revenues for the first time in history were in the black,” Snipes said.
He said it made a $13,000 profit and set a record of 60,563 rounds played. It was voted best golf course in Fort Bend County by readers of the Fort Bend Star.
Once again Snipes credited the management of the facility for the turnaround.
“The management is doing a great job to enhance the offerings. We are trying to make this facility something we can all be proud of,” he said.
Since opening the City Centre at the golf course in 2012, facility revenues have increased an average of 5 percent annually. Last October saw the best month of revenues since the city took over with $416,883 in realized revenue. Projected weddings hosted in the coming year are three times that of the year the City Centre opened.
Not only does this mark Snipes’ first year on the job, it is also the Show Me City’s 60th year of incorporation. That is cause for celebration, but also some work.
“Our city and infrastructure isn’t what it was in our first five years,” Snipes said.
Among the things he is planning to do in his next year is work on infrastructure, including facilities, sidewalks, roads and drainage.
“We plan on proactively addressing those things,” he said.
All of that is on top of maintaining and improving upon the projects set out in his first year.
“We’ve done a lot but we have so much more that we can do,” Snipes said.
“Anthony (Snipes) is a very dedicated individual with high standards for himself as well. He is well respected by his peers in the city management field and we are very fortunate to have him as ours. I am looking forward to having him guide our future,” Mayor Owen said.
Snipes, who was previously an assistant city manager in Austin, said he and his family have adjusted to life in the Show Me City and he looks forward to a long run here.
“I’m excited about the future of Missouri City,” he said.