Work Plan 2016

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The 2016-18 City Council adopted a work plan to guide the Council and staff’s priorities in 2016. The priorities were organized into five areas: finance, land planning, economic development, major projects and internal services.

Finance

  • Low taxes: 2017 budget will decrease taxes by $9 for average valued home  (Completed for 2016)
  • Continued financial stability: Improved (and stable) bond rating Aa1 (Completed for 2016)
  • Stable tax rate: Tax rate increase of just 0.324 percent (Completed for 2016)
  • Control spending/prioritization: No increase in non-personnel/rent budgets. Prioritization process slated for 2017 (Completed for 2016)
  • Franchise fees: City Council approved franchise fees Sept. 13 (Completed)

Land Planning

  • West End plan/annexation: West End Land Use study adopted April 19. City continues to meet with Jackson Township. (Major Progress)
  • Comprehensive Plan: The city secured two grants ($32,000 from Met Council; $125,000 from Community Development Agency.) We're looking at hiring a consultant to assist us with housing strategy and commercial/industrial demand studies. Proposal to work with Scott County on transportation piece. West side sewer/water/power analysis in process. Senior planner on deck beginning of the year to lead effort.  Due Dec. 31, 2018 (Ongoing)
  • Infrastructure needs: Franchise fee dedicated to CIP. Grant for Memorial Bridge secured. Continuing to work on funding streams including possible bonding at state level, if bonding bill approved. (Ongoing)
  • Traffic/Transportation/Transit: Worked with MVTA to ensure Route 495 reaches local businesses. (Completed) 
  • R-4/Housing needs: Worked with Met Council on excluding the SMSC land from our housing and population forecasts, which will impact our requirements. Four R-4 workshops were held in winter 2016. At this point, the council has a good understanding of areas to consider for R4 development. (Completed)
  • Riverfront: Assistant City Administrator Nate Burkett was tasked with "taking back the river. " He has met with the Corps of Engineers and other agencies to discuss. (Ongoing)
  • Walkability (sidewalks)/Bikeability: Looking for funding opportunities for pedestrian crossing of Highway 169. Downtown improvement project includes crossing safety. (Ongoing)

Economic Development

  • SAC reform: SAC Policy adopted Feb. 16 (Completed)
  • Economic development/incentive reform: Business subsidy policy updated June 21. Facade Program updated Oct. 14 (Completed)
  • Downtown: Economic Development Authority reviewed plan Oct. 18 (Ongoing)
  • Old City Hall: Multiple developers have looked the property. Soil borings conducted for reference. The city will continue to market to potential hotel/apartment developers (Ongoing)

Major Projects

  • Community Center operational management: City Council reviewed Oct. 18 (Ongoing)
  • New City Hall: Construction started in June. Although weather and steel issues have impacted timeline, we believe any time loss can be made up this winter with moderate temperatures and lack of precipitation. (Ongoing)
  • Southbridge fire response: City and SMSC staff reviewed Joint Fire Station Optimization Study (Ongoing)

Internal Services 

  • Succession planning: Three of seven department heads (finance, planning and development and assistant city administrator) were hired. We will need to fill public works director position. Long-term plan process to be instituted to “grow our own.” (Ongoing)
  • Clear direction to staff and boards/committees: Council approved Appointment and Operation of Boards and Commission Policy and City Boards and Committees Manual. (Ongoing)
  • Communication between departments: Design of the physical space of a new city hall will greatly increase interdepartmental communications. City started an Administrator’s Report following council meetings to help communicate with staff at all levels. The 2017 Budget Letter was available to all employees to ensure everyone understood where we were in the budget. Starting a “rumor busting” internal Ask Bill column in the next few weeks. (Major Progress)
  • Revitalization/Stabilization of staff: More than one-third City Hall staff turned over in the last two years. Position classification review slated for mid-2017. First phase management training completed. (Ongoing)
  • Education and training of staff: Staff participated in management training. (Ongoing)
  • Customer service: Initial training module developed. City plans to implement in early 2017. Design of new city hall building is customer service focused. One-stop permit/license process will be implemented in next several months. (Major Progress)
  • Transparency: Focused on finances. Budget process made major strides in 1) fiscal transparency (true fiscal health, define revenues); and 2) ensure budget reflects actual spending (reduce variances, decrease inflated budgets). Laid foundation for helping public understand budget in the next several years. (Major Progress)
  • Inclusive and diverse workforce: City intends to continue hiring highest quality team members. Of last 10 full-time hires, five were women and two from minority populations. Actively recruited several minority candidates who decided not to join team. (Ongoing)
  • Policy review: Systematic review planned, focusing on financial and "pinch point" issues. (Ongoing)
  • Code enforcement: Code enforcement policy adopted April 5. New CSO hired. (Completed)
  • Digitization: Staff trained on new software for electronic review process for plan review to be fully implemented by March 2017. (Major Progress)
  • Signage (trail and way finding): Continuing to develop 101/69 entrance sign as part of downtown improvement plan. City needs to address way finding signage in 2017. (Ongoing)