New city administrator says service, operations top priorities

New Jefferson City administrator Steven Crowell (facing camera) talks to Ken Enloe Thursday. Crowell said he would focus on improving city services.

New city administrator Steven Crowell told KRCG 13 Thursday he would focus on improving customer service and city operations.

Crowell spent late Thursday afternoon greeting local VIPs at the John G. Christy Municipal Building at a welcome reception. The reception comes 10 days after Crowell took over from interim city administrator Drew Hilpert. He previously served as city manager in St. Mary's, Ga. and held similar positions in Colorado, Florida and Nebraska. He told KRCG 13 he wants to make city services as efficient as possible. Crowell would not specify what services in particular he would work on, citing his newness to the city.

Crowell said there are many ways Jefferson City could address the abandoned properties that sparked extended debate at the March 3 city council meeting. He said incentives and grants can help bring back historic properties, while infrastructure improvements such as road repairs can serve as an indirect incentive to property owners. In some cases, Crowell said cities he has worked in have had to demolish such properties.

Jefferson City residents Dan Eiken and Ken Enloe spoke briefly with Crowell at Thursday's reception. Both said they thought Crowell was bringing in a healthy outsider's perspective.

"What I've noticed is, he's very open to new ideas and he comes with a fresh approach, not being from here," Eiken said.

Enloe said he and Crowell connected over their mutual love of bicycling and said Crowell had expressed interest in the city's parks system.

Both men said they hoped Crowell would take a business-friendly approach in his managment style. Eiken said he hoped Crowell would not micromanage the city and take a big-picture approach.