City Council sets goals for upcoming year
City Council’s annual goal-setting work session on January 12 provided a full-day for civic leaders to evaluate where the City is currently, and where Council would like to see it headed.
A review and status report of recent and current City projects summarily brought three new city councilors up to speed and launched Council into a strategic planning session, the outcome of which is goal-setting priorities that will inform the administration and operations work plan.
Newly elected councilors Jessica Metta, Erick Haynie and Tim Counihan joined sitting council members Kate McBride, Mark Zanmiller and Megan Saunders, along with newly re-elected Mayor Paul Blackburn for the goal-setting exercise. The city manager and department heads attended to provide supporting information, answer questions, and listen.
New Council members Erick Haynie, Tim Counihan and Jessica Metta are sworn in by municipal Judge Ruben Cleaveland.
“With three new councilors at the table, it was especially valuable and productive to spend extended time reflecting on where we are and determining what we want to focus on as a body,” Mayor Paul Blackburn stated. “It’s an important process in which we can deliberate on big issues and a collective vision for the City.”
In preparation for the goal-setting work session, City Manager Rachael Fuller described organizational challenges, which included a disparity between “current community standards and aspirational community identity.” She explained this as tension between the City’s current regulatory environment (community standards), and the aspirational vision of the community. By ascertaining visions and outcomes, strategies can be explored to achieve desired results in the built environment.
For example, Fuller mentioned the current code framework may not have caught up with the visions and aspirations of the community because it was developed for a different set of circumstances.
“Closing the gap between current community standards and visions will take consistent, focused, disciplined effort over time. A long-term approach and prioritizing policy projects helps increase staff efficiency in support of Council goals,” Fuller said. “The goal of this effort is long-term, continuous improvement to deliver on the Council’s vision for the community.”
The City’s goal-setting session will result in an annual project workplan based on goals and strategies prioritized by the Council, and will ultimately identify specific projects with which to accomplish goals: an annual project plan.
“When we spend extended time in strategic planning and a workplan is forthcoming, it helps guide future decision-making and prioritizes actions we want to take when issues arise in the future,” Blackburn expressed.
Goals that emerged from the day-long goal-setting session to inform a prioritized action plan are:
GOAL # 1: Create opportunities for an inclusive and diverse housing inventory.
GOAL # 2: Inform and engage all segments of our community through transparency and proactive, inclusive and comprehensive outreach.
GOAL # 3: Promote an efficient, safe multi-modal transportation system that alleviates traffic and parking congestion and encourages bike/ped transportation.
GOAL # 4: Create a more environmentally sustainable community.
GOAL # 5: Maintain existing infrastructure and prepare for growth.
GOAL # 6: Address community needs for parks and open space.
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