Morristown city  officials recognized

Morristown city officials have garnered two prestigious awards, the Voice of the People award given for implementing suggestions from city government’s annual citizen survey, and the Government Finance Officers Association award for superior budget reporting.

It’s the fourth time Morristown has received the Voice of the People award in nine years and the seventh consecutive year city budget staff have received the GFOA award.

Morristown was presented the Voice of the People Award for its “transformation in recreation and wellness.”

The award is given to cities that listen and act to improve their communities.

Twenty awards for different categories were given to municipalities across the nation. The results of last year’s National Citizens Survey showed Morristown residents perceived an improvement in the community, particularly in the area of recreation and wellness.

“Morristown has improved in its recreation opportunities and in the effort put into improving parks and receiving these awards shows that the city of Morristown has listened to its people’s needs and responded accordingly,” Rachel Westra, city public information officer said in a press release.

“Much attention has been paid in recent years to expanding and improving our parks and recreation system,” Westra added. “A highlight of the past year was the opening of Morristown’s newest city park, Fulton-Hill Park. The project took the dilapidated property of former Morristown College and transformed it into a 52-acre park with walking trails and green spaces.”

A historical replica of the college’s colonnades was reconstructed to pay homage to the history of this educational institution.

Across the board, Morristown has been making major improvements to its parks. From disability-related improvements to the construction of a new dog park, to new shelters and playground equipment, nearly all city parks have received some sort of facelift in recent years. .

“Recreation and wellness programming has seen improvements, particularly with our adult sports leagues,” Westra said. “There has been a major increase in our adult participation and new, unique opportunities have been added, such as pickleball. The Healthy Hamblen group has led the weekly Monday Mile and outdoor fitness sessions. Citizens have had more opportunities to stay healthy and active”.

A major project on the horizon is the construction of Morristown’s first community center. This new space will provide a wide variety of recreation opportunities for residents of all ages. The facility will offer a swimming pool, indoor walking path, basketball courts, fitness rooms and more. Construction is expected to begin in early 2021.

A community center has long been a desire from City residents, which has been expressed in previous responses to our citizen survey.

Morristown recently mailed out this year’s National Citizens Surveys to 3,500 randomly selected households.

“If your household received one, please complete the survey and return it by the end of the month,” Westra said. “Your responses to this survey are what help the city set its priorities in the coming years.”

Morristown residents who did not receive a survey can participate by accessing a survey at www.mymorristown.com

The results of last year’s survey can be viewed on the website.

The GFOA award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management. City official were notified recently that it had again received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.

“This illustrates the city’s continuing efforts of full disclosure and transparency in financial reporting to its citizenry,” Joey Barnard, assistant city administrator said this morning. “The reporting requirements and standards continue to change and evolve. The Finance Department is up to the challenge to continue to full the reporting requirements and standards.

“I am extremely proud of the efforts of the finance department over the last few years to continue to make improvements in internal controls and accountability,” Barnard added. “The department has made significant improvements in its processes, but realizes and desires to perform at an even higher level.”