City of Edmonds Strategic Plan moves forward


By Harry Gatjens

The Planning Board and the Citizens Economic Development Commission met jointly on Wednesday night for a presentation from Tom Beckwith and Steve Price of Beckwith Consulting regarding progress to date on the city’s Strategic Plan, including an initial view of the final product.

The presentation began with a recap of the steps taken to date, including the survey sent to various groups in the community, the public presentations and the six retreats held so far.

The end of project includes objectives in five areas. They are:

Strategic Objective 1: Economic Health, Vitality & Sustainability

Strategic Objective 2: Maintain, enhance, and create a sustainable environment

Strategic Objective 3: Maintain and enhance Edmonds’ community character and quality of life

Strategic Objective 4: Develop and maintain a transportation and infrastructure system to meet current and future demand

Strategic Objective 5: Responsible, accountable, and responsive government

Within those five objectives were 13 sub-objectives, which were further broken down into 60 tasks.

For each of these tasks, the plan identifies the priority, complexity and time frame. It also identifies the group that should be accomplishing the task, and what other organization should be involved in developing criteria for measuring performance for the objectives.

Twenty-six different organizations, including city government departments, community organizations, business associations, and educational institutions — were identified as potential contributors to reaching the objectives. The city was the lead on 31 of the 60 tasks and co-lead on 15 more.

The priorities of the various objectives were determined by public input through the surveys and public meetings. Priorities ranged from very high to low.

Not all of the tasks will be able to be achieved with funding from the city. When possible, alternative sources of funding — through grants, other organizations or private parties — will be necessary to achieve all the tasks.

Lower-priority items probably will not be accomplished without support from those most interested doing the bulk of the work and finding sources of funding.

While listed by priority, the tasks won’t necessarily be completed in that order. Circumstances may arise, such as special funding opportunities that will allow some tasks of lower priority to be completed before a higher-priority task.

There are many questions about “tweaking” the wording, look and format of the final plan before it moves to the next step. While many of these suggestions were helpful, it was also pointed out that is not wise to get bogged down in the details to the point it affects the overall progress.

Members of the organizations identified in the Strategic Plan were encouraged to send comments to Stephen Clifton, Edmonds’ Economic Development Director, by the end of the week so that he could meet with consultants to iron out the final presentation.

Once complete, the plan will be presented to the City Council and the various organizations expected to participate to get more comments and make changes as necessary. Ultimately, the council will choose what to do with the Strategic Plan.

The council would need to agree on the objectives and the priorities, and the leads for each objective would need to step forward and agree to take on that role. In addition, the objectives should be publicized to give other concerned citizens the opportunity to volunteer to get involved.

During the meeting, an example was made of the City of Chehalis, which completed its planned two years ago. Of the city’s 36 actions, it has completed 21 and is working on the final 15.

Once the Strategic Plan is adopted, the consultants noted, it is important to identify some of the objectives that can be achieved quickly and then do them, to establish some momentum.

A copy of the draft Strategic Plan is available here.


  1. Thanks Harry. This is a very good summary.

    The only thing I would point out additionally is the connection between the Strategic Plan and the “Budgeting for Priorities” process that is also moving forward (at least in terms of those objectives that require City funds). Mr. Beckwith addressed this several times within his presentation. And -as I commented at the meeting- I was glad that he did, so the community understood this link.


  2. I am trying to determine how many action items our Strategic Plan has. I’ve seen mention of 60, 74 and 86 items. Does anybody know the actual number?

    Also, I looked on the City’s website to see if I could determine how many actions have been completed. It might be there somewhere – I may have missed it. Any help would be appreciated.

    Chehalis completed over 58% of its actions in two years.


  3. There are 86 elements to the SP. A tracking model has been proposed that would give everyone visibility to what is being done on each element but the lead organizations, the city, and the consultant. The model is fully populated with all 86 elements and would be VERY useful in helping everyone know what is happening on each element. The city has not yet decided to use the model but has not ruled it out.


  4. Thanks for your help Darrol. The article above discusses 60 tasks which is different than 86 elements. Is the difference simply terminology? For example, do some action items or tasks have multiple elements?

    Sounds like the model would be very useful. Hopefully it will be implemented.




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