Council recalls accomplishments, considers new projects, policies
It was an evening of looking back and taking stock of accomplishments, seeing what remains to be finished and looking forward to what will come in 2014.
The Washington City Council spent four hours with Jeff Schott of the University of Iowa Institute of Public Affairs Wednesday going through the process of assessing the city’s accomplishments and developing goals and priorities for the upcoming year. The newly elected council members, Jaron Rosien and Kathy Salazar, who will take their seats on the council in January, were part of the process.
Schott said that the goal-setting session was the most important council meeting of the year. It was a work session, so no formal decisions were made. However, the councilors identified the new projects or initiatives and the ongoing commitments and priorities of the city.
Major accomplishments in the past two years included completing the wastewater treatment plant; installation of water mains, storm and sanitary sewer projects; the water facility plan and moving forward on replacement of a ground storage reservoir; TIF districts reconfigured that will capture a larger increment to reinvest in the districts; the housing task force; removal of a few troubled residential buildings; completion of a long-term plan for the library; progress made on a new industrial park; completion of the comprehensive plan; and improved treasury fund balances and involvement by city staff to control spending.
The council then looked at some of the issues and concerns still facing the city, including infrastructure, housing, economic development, budget and finance, parks/recreation/wellness, downtown, staffing, public safety, and citizen engagement and demographics.
Several potential programs, projects and initiatives were identified and discussed. Schott devised a system to help the council narrow the list down. The council identified the city’s space needs, designing a water treatment facility and maintaining parks and recreational opportunities, especially Sunset Park as top priorities.
Schott said he would complete a detailed report of the session this week. The council will have the opportunity to accept the report at an upcoming regular session of the council.