Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Melissa Cantarero Weiss, Deputy City Administrator at the City of Wauwatosa, WI. Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn.
What I’m Drinking: It’s a Council meeting night, so I am having afternoon caffeine — a homemade Earl Grey tea latte.
What I’m Eating: Lunch is a lemon Parmesan kale salad.
What I’m Working on: Department budgets are due in two weeks. I am working on budget entry for the Administration and Crossing Guards budgets. Up next, the Tourism budget.
One of the divisions that I have the pleasure of supporting is Communications. Honestly, delivering transparency in government and engaging with the community we serve is my favorite work. When I started working for the city in 2017, we had never had a communications staff member and so we were missing many of the basics. One of those basics was photos. We didn’t have photos of the city and we needed them — for social media, for our website, our documents, and so on. We also didn’t have much of an operating budget at the time and were undertaking some more expensive projects like building a new city website, so I wasn’t inclined to ask for money for professional photography that we would need to refresh annually.
This led me to ponder how to get the photo stock we need with a very small budget and limited employee time. Enter one of my favorite recurring projects — Tosa Photos. We built a microsite on WordPress — thanks to our incredible Information Systems Director for saying yes when I pitch new ideas — and the Tosa Photos Contest was born. People submit photos of their Tosa Life. The contest is open all summer. We have four categories and for your viewing pleasure, I have shared a favorite photo from each category over the past several years.
Cityscapes: a blend of modern and historic, Wauwatosa is renowned for its beautiful homes, architecture, and buildings. Here’s your chance to show off some of the infrastructure and landmarks that give our community its aesthetic character.
Environment: From wide-open spaces, rivers and trails to our cozy city streets shaded by tree cover of ever-changing hues, the bounty of environment enriches life in Wauwatosa. Show your appreciation of the natural beauty we have right outside our doorsteps and how you like to enjoy it.
Community engagement and special events: Wauwatosans know how to stay social and engage with their community. Show us your photos of community events you are loving.
Popular vote: Tip your hat to your fellow Tosan for their artistic vision and cast your vote for your favorite photo. The submission with the most votes will be the winner of this category.
We have some fine print, but the basics are that you submit your original work, it is a photo within city limits, and you give us the right to use it. We name a winner for the first three categories and the public picks the winner for the last one. Each winner gets a Wauwatosa swag bag and a gift card to a Wauwatosa small business. For very little money and very little staff time, we get new high-quality photos each year. Bonus, it is fun for our residents to see the photos and vote for their favorites. The contest is another way to build community and our brand. Win, win.