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.