By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
After two years of discussing a new logo, the City of Dayton has settled on a new brand that incorporates the city’s history in rice farming, the purple color of the Dayton Broncos and the star motif that is seen in concrete monuments across the city. It also acknowledges the five major roadways that converge in Dayton with a new tagline of “Crossroads of the Gulf Coast.”
The logo was designed by Andy Conner, a member of the Dayton Enhancement Committee. At the May 20 Dayton City Council meeting, Conner explained that his goal with the new brand was to incorporate ideas the council considered previously.
Caroline Wadzeck, sworn in as mayor at the start of the meeting, is a member of the Dayton Enhancement Committee. She pushed for the council to make a decision.
“For the last couple of months, the Dayton Enhancement Committee has been studying the City of Dayton’s branding ideas that were presented to you last summer. It hasn’t moved forward since last summer, so we thought we would take them up again with Theo’s blessing,” Wadzeck said, referring to City Manager Theo Melancon.
Councilman Troy Barton, who was also sworn into another term of office at the meeting, along with Councilman John Johnson, questioned the expense the city would incur by changing out the logos on the city’s letterheads, vehicles and flags. Melancon said the switch could happen slowly with the first step being the use of the new brand in marketing brochures.
“Those are where we market the city to the world. Then we start working it in,” said Melancon.
“You can use this logo, but you might want to do something very different for the flag. We might even want to talk about incorporating other elements that are different in a flag,” he said. “Right now, everyone else (the Dayton Community Development Corporation and the Dayton Chamber of Commerce) has purple and green logos, and we are the only ones sitting on red, white and blue.”
Councilman Alvin Burress motioned for the city move forward with the logo as presented by the Dayton Enhancement Committee.
“This isn’t a new discussion. We’ve been talking about this for two and a half years,” Burress said.
The City of Dayton also committed to an agreement to put up $572K of a total $1.5 million project to add more sidewalks around town. The project, which must first be approved for grant funding through the Houston-Galveston Area Council, could mean additional sidewalks from U.S. 90 to Brown Road, along SH 146.
“There is $8.7 million statewide for Safe Routes to School projects, as well as additional money in non-urban areas for a conditional project list. There is a total of $10 million available, which is a small pot considering how large the state is,” said Benicia with Goodman Corporation, a Texas-based firm the city hired to assist with mobility and infrastructure challenges.
Goodman Corporation also has been tasked with helping the city find state, federal and discretionary grant funds for seven mobility projects in Dayton, including the extensions of Waco Street and Cherry Creek Road, and improvements to the FM 1409 and FM 1008 intersection. None of those seven projects have funding available at this time.
The city also approved an onboarding program that was presented by Police Dispatch Supervisor Tammy Alexander, LaTonia King and Jackie Ennor.
“Onboarding is the process of acclimating and welcoming new employees into our organization and providing them with the tools, resources and knowledge to become successful and productive,” Alexander told council as she read notes from her presentation.
New employees hired by the city will receive onboarding certificates at the 30-day, 60-day and 90-day periods of employment. In addition to performance evaluations, they will be asked to complete surveys to see if the onboarding program is effective. Alexander said the goal was to retain good employees by making them successful members of the team.
Councilman Wendell Null applauded the trio for the presentation and said the program is another example of how City Manager Theo Melancon and Police Chief-Assistant City Manager Robert Vine are elevating the city.
“You can see it every day. We are raising our competency and skill levels. This is really impressive,” he said.
The council heard an update from James Perkins, who oversees the city’s IT department, regarding a fiber feasibility project and improvements being made to the community center’s audio and video system.
The City is conducting the fiber feasibility survey with Magellan and asking area businesses and residents if they would like to see an improvement in Internet quality. The surveys were mailed out to residents but so far the response has been tepid, Perkins said.
“As of today, we have only had 116 returned surveys,” he said.
Regarding the improvements at the civic center, Perkins explained that smart boards are being added in some of the meeting rooms in the community center. Similar to dry erase boards, the smart boards are linked to television screens where the information can be shared to a larger audience.
Council approved a request from the Chief Vine to switch officers from 10-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, and from 40-hour work weeks to 28-day work periods.
“What this will do is allow each officer to have every other weekend off. Some of these officers have worked years without having even a partial weekend off. This will be a very effective employee retention tool,” Vine said. “This will give them more time with their families and at least allow them to do certain activities, like attend church, at least a couple of times a month.”
For the city, this would put more officers on the street, particularly during peak periods when as many as five officers would be available.
“We will have a supervisor on every shift with two officers assigned to them. We are moving one of our detectives temporarily to a patrol assignment. Then we are going to have a power shift, so that at any given time during our peak hours, we can have five officers on the street,” Vine said.
The benefits will include improved officer safety, reduced response times for calls for service, increased self-initiated activities such as traffic stops and patrolling, more warrants served and a reduction in overtime costs.
In other business, Council approved $34K in emergency repairs to electrical fixtures at the police department and fire station, approved $22K to Texas Pride for repairs to the Milo Street sewer line and agreed to contract with Ron Cox for consulting services regarding the City’s Comprehensive Plan.
The City also held a final public hearing on the Unified Development Code before Council voted to adopt it.
The UDC reorganizes the city’s regulations and ordinances into a cohesive, coherent and consistent set of standards. The UDC is a user-friendly document that spells out to developers how land should be divided and used, how sidewalks and streets should be designed, and how outdoor signs should be erected and displayed.