When Gary Soiseth was elected Mayor, he made a promise to review the way the City does business - from its budget to staffing and everything in between. After months of review Soiseth, and the entire City Council, have nailed down the City's goals into a four-year Strategic Plan.
"The intent of the Strategic Plan is to create accountability and benchmarks," said Soiseth. "It's a fairly new concept for City staff of clear cut deadlines to meet. I think it's a healthy thing for the City."
Over the past eight months, the City Council and City staff have been working double time to update the City's Strategic Plan. This work included holding several public workshops with topics on the future of the Turlock's water resources, roads, public safety, parks and recreation programs and the City's Building division.
Out of these workshops arose City priorities - including investing in public safety staffing and equipment and diversification of water resources - and a need for defined goals for each City department.
After much review, seven policy goals were drafted: Effective leadership, fiscal responsibility, public safety, municipal infrastructure, economic development, intelligent, planned and managed growth, and quality community programs.
The Mayor and City Council Policy Goals and Implementation Plan is not "window-dressing," according to Soiseth.
The Plan defines each of the policy goals, followed by general principles that support each goal. Following the general principles are action items with specific implementation measures.
Some of the Plan's deadline goals include:
• Creating a balanced and sustainable budget for fiscal years 2017/18 and 2018/19;
• Achieve 1.5 police officers per thousand ratio no later than July 1, 2019;
• Fill three vacancies at Fire Station No. 3 no later than Jan. 1, 2016;
• Complete a Groundwater Management Plan with regional partners no later than January 2020;
• Issue a Request for Proposals for creating a Community Marketing Plan no later than February 2016.
"We were operating on goals that were vague," said Soiseth about previous Strategic Plans, "with no clear cut vision."
On Tuesday, the City Council is also expected to:
• Hold a Special Joint Meeting of the City Council and the Turlock Parks, Arts and Recreation Committee at 5 p.m. During the meeting, City staff will give updates on the Turlock Skate Park move to Donnelly Park, the Recreation Facility Feasibility Study, the City Hall Gallery and Community Art Murals.
After the staff reports, the PARC will give a liaison report followed by commissioner comments and City Council member comments.
• Consider approving the Active Transportation Plan and adopting a General Plan Amendment to include ATP recommendations. The Plan is a document that has been 18 months in the making and includes projects, standards, policies and programs designed to encourage and support biking and walking in the community.
The Active Transportation Plan recommends 21 bikeway corridor projects, including a path around Donnelly Lake and a Lander Avenue biking lane from Main Street to Linwood. Eleven corridors in Turlock were identified as priorities for pedestrian infrastructure improvements, including closing gaps in the sidewalk network and improving or providing new crossings at intersections.
A Safe Routes to School program is included in the Plan, with routes mapped for each school campus and recommendations for new programs like a "walking school bus," where organized groups of students walk or bike to school with an adult.
The Plan also includes recommendations for education programs on safety rules and laws and increasing awareness regarding walking and bicycling opportunities.
• Consider moving forward with a request for proposals to hire a consultant to prepare a Downtown Parking Plan. The consultant will assess the current parking supply and demand and make recommendations for any needed improvements to the current parking supply. The consultant will also be tasked with using growth projections from the City's General Plan to determine future parking demands.
An advisory group, made up of members of the Downtown Property Owners' Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Planning Commission, will work with the consultant throughout the preparation of the parking plan.
• Consider approving the 2014-15 Draft Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report for the Community Development Block Grant Program and HOME Investment Partnership Program, and authorizing submission to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Prior to the end of each federal fiscal year, HUD requires a jurisdiction to submit a Consolidated Annual Performance Evaluation Report, which describes the activities undertaken and resulting accomplishments during the reporting period. During this reporting period, the City has made significant progress in addressing challenges of stabilizing the homeowner base within the community, improving existing housing stock, and improving the overall quality of life in its neighborhoods. Some of the highlights of the report include:
- First Time Home Buyer Loans
- Residential Rehabilitation Loans
- Rehabilitation of homes
- Public Service Grants
- Fair Housing Efforts
- Efforts to address the issues related to homelessness
- Community development sidewalk project
The Special Joint Meeting of the City Council and Parks, Arts and Recreation Committee will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday, followed by the regularly scheduled City Council meeting at 6 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.