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Council Goal Setting

Minutes
Saturday, March 08, 2014

MINUTES FOR THE GOAL SETTING SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
 
Goal Setting began at 8:30 a.m. by Steve Bryant, Project Manager for Oregon Consensus Project.
Mayor Stromberg, Councilors Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal and Marsh were present. Staff: City Administrator Dave Kanner and City Attorney Dave Lohman (left 12:30 p.m.) were present.
Outline of presentation began as the following:
What outcomes will make today worth investing 8 hours of your time?
  • A longer term plan for moving forward
  • Agreement on long term goals
  • Financial strategic ideas that look beyond the current budget cycle
  • Begin to develop more of a strategic plan
  • View this as the beginning of the planning process
  • Get it off to a good start!
  • Try to get to both the long term goals and some steps for getting there.
  • Nothing wrong with the current set of goals
  • Recognize that future councils will have their own thoughts and priorities
  • Leave with some vision for the future that we can pass on
  • Have some follow-up strategic planning with departments, boards and commissions, etc.
  • Look at big picture
  • Build bridges to other boards and commissions
  • Strengthen regional relationships
Councilors were asked to consider the following:
In 2025 Ashland will be renowned as a city that…
  • Embraces sustainability
  • Supports arts, conservation
  • A downtown that others would die to have
  • A city that is resilient—systems that are diverse, families thrive, diverse economy and infrastructure that relies on a variety of sources
  • Maintain what is already good!
  • A more diverse economic portfolio
  • Young families see themselves living here long into the future
  • Capitalize on Oregon’s reputation as an innovative place to do business
  • Ashland becomes the new place in Oregon where new sustainable high tech ideas are incubated
  • A city that is willing to be and is known for innovation
  • A place where people want to live and want to raise their families here
  • A community that creates opportunity out of challenge
  • A community that is innovative in approaching issues that are common among communities and is responsibly progressive.
  • Is ahead of climate change in policy and infrastructure
  • A community that is a cooperative city based on buying local and keeping wealth in our community
  • Is a city that is affordable for the working class and working poor
  • Ashland has one of the most rigorous conservation plans in the state for energy and water
  • We will have achieved incorporation of a variety of ideas and views for making sustainability work
  • Being in government is something that people are excited about and we draw the be best people into government
  • Increasing citizens recognize and appreciate the excellent exhibited by city government and as such they see themselves as part of good governance—citizens are fully engaged
  • We are known as a model for other cities because we are forward thinking in our infrastructure management
  • We are doing a good job in dealing with issues that previous councils didn’t want to deal with
  • We buy local
  • We grow internally and have good succession plans in place
  • We tackle tough problems and take care of them!
  • We are professional in all that we do
  • We set an example of other communities
Observations shared on interviews with Council and staff:
  • You have really good city council and staff members who want basically the same things for Ashland.  In fact, the common themes were surprisingly similar and can provide the basis for consensus agreement on the general areas of needed emphasis.
 
  • Each of you has a deep commitment to the city of Ashland based on its unique attributes that keep you engaged, and you are equally passionate about its future.  That passion is commonly rooted in wanting to protect all that is good about living here while also desiring a future that promises a high quality of life for those who wish to call Ashland their home 20 years from now.
 
  • You have similar interests in using this process as the beginning step of developing a more comprehensive strategic plan for guiding the future of the city—influencing both short and long-term decision making; however, the immediate focus of this process should be on longer-term goals.
 
  • To increase your effectiveness as a governing body in making progress toward the long-term goals, you agree that some future work may be needed to improve both internal communication dynamics and external communications with the public.
The following are typical elements of a good strategic plan for public organizations:
  1. A focused effort to conduct a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.
    1.  Process should be integrated/iterative between council and staff
    2. Council leads community SWOT analysis
    3.  Empower the staff the be honest with the council in the SWOT analysis
    4. Avoid “us vs. them” mentality
    5.  Respect the roles of council and staff  
 
  1. A well crafted mission and organizational values statement that has a high level of ownership short list of major goal topics.
    1.   Develop the mission statement after other elements of the strategic plan evolve.
    2. Develop organizational values from the bottom up.
    3.  Council may need to articulate community values that guide development of long-term goals.
    4. Council may also need to articulate council values that guide group behaviors and actions
    5.  Needs to happen after SWOT and before finalizing goals
  2. Agreement on a relatively short list of high-priority mid to long-term goals (2-6 years, occasionally longer) and re-visit at least every two years.
  3. Agreement on short-term (1-2 year) objectives necessary to make progress toward the mid to long-term goals.
    1.  SWOT analysis annually
    2. Review short-term objectives annually
  4. Listing of specific and measurable organizational tactics and implementation measures necessary to achieve the objectives and, ultimately, the goals.
    1.  Quarterly reports
    2. Check in with City Council
  5. A systematic plan for measuring progress and modifying, as necessary, the goals, objectives and tactics.
    1.  Quarterly reports—put them on Council agendas
    2. Citizen surveys
    3.  Administrative measures
    4. Both council and staff may need to seek clarification on how progress should be measured
    5.  Council needs to provide feedback mechanisms for ensuring that staff has clarification
    6.  Use boards and commissions as a primary information source for decision-making and measurement
    7.  Develop both qualitative and quantitative measures
Frequently mentioned themes for Ashland’s future:
1)Leader in innovation in land use, economic development, and resource management
2)Maintain a continuous focus on community sustainability actions
  1. Seek energy independence/neutrality
  2. Seek to become more self-reliant
  3. Focus on measures to achieve a high level of self-reliance for goods and services
  4. Seek to achieve carbon neutrality
  5. Anticipate the effects of climate change and plan accordingly
  6. Engage in sustainable forestry practices
  7. Fully implement the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project
  8. Examine “STAR” Community Sustainability Planning Framework
3)Maintaining and improving Ashland’s high quality of life is paramount
  1. Protect and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources that make Ashland unique
  2. Build on Ashland’s “sense of place” and small town feel
  3. Strengthen partnerships and programs that enable all citizens to meet their basic needs
4)Promoting and achieving a “family friendly” community
  1. Pursue affordable housing opportunities, especially workforce housing commensurate with local employment opportunities
  2. Seek pathways for SOU graduates to remain in the community
  3. Address “aging in place” issues and needs
5)Overall excellence in “governance” becomes the recognized norm.
  1. A sustained focus on leadership development—both internally and externally
  2. Establishment of collaborative community and regional partnerships
  3. Effective citizen communication and engagement
  4. There is a high level of tolerance for all viewpoints
  5. Governance that is transparent
  6. Boards and commissions are fully engaged in supporting the strategic plan
  7. Increase effectiveness in regional and state policy arenas
  8. Become more regionally connected
  9. Charter is updated based on “best practices”
  10.  Empower community partners to help achieve the goals
6)Achieve excellence in infrastructure management and modernization
  1. Recognize the constraints of the watershed and plan accordingly
  2. Complete the downtown transportation plan element
  3. Replace City Hall with consolidated office space that is safe, welcoming, fosters improved communications and serves the community long into the future
  4. Work to keep utilities efficient and affordable
7)Creation of new economic opportunities and diversification while strengthening support of Ashland’s existing economic base
  1. Examine and remove certain barriers to business start-up opportunities
  2. Create predictable pathways for development of employment lands
  3. Take advantage of new technologies for which Ashland is primed based on its fiber network, workforce, and other assets
8)Efficient, innovative and affordable public services
9)Comprehensive review and common understanding of core services, service levels and financial resources
  1. The community is engaged in a conversation about core services, desired service levels and alternative or more efficient funding mechanisms.
  2. A sustainable model is developed for parks and recreation services that commensurate with the prioritization, funding and administration of other core city services.
10)Provide for the immediate and long-term public safety needs of the community
Ashland SWOT (Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats) - EXERCISE
1)Strengths
  1. Talented citizens
  2. Purity of the water
  3. Cultural opportunities
  4. Full spectrum of education opportunities
  5. People feel safe here
  6. Innovative businesses
  7. Lively downtown
  8. Natural environment
  9. Walkability
  10. Climate
  11. Abundance of world-class parks
  12. Cultural assets
  13. Know our neighborhoods—strong neighborhoods
  14. Small town feel
  15. The Shakespeare festival alone has over 100,000 visitors each year
  16. City staff is experienced and excellent
  17. Ashland is well-known
  18. People come from everywhere to be here—both visitors and permanent residents
  19. The same people have been coming to visit here for many years
  20. Involved citizenry
  21. The town is small enough that our problems are not intractable
  22. We have a very charitable community
  23. Our citizens are self-confident
  24. We are at a size where it is still possible to do things face to face
  25. The community holds their elected officials accountable
  26. We are an easy one-day drive to Portland and S.F.
  27. We are forward thinking/progressive
  28. Unique political make-up
  29. High diversity of activities
    1. Recreation
    2. Tourism
    3. Social activities
    4. Political activities
    5. Faith-based
  30. High quality and diverse/alternative health care systems
  31. Proximity to increasingly strong and well-know wine industry
  32. Excellent culinary options
  33. Smithsonian Lemelson Center for American History Museum 2015 exhibit studying AFR and other local creative invention and innovation ideas
  34. Building film industry
  35. International businesses
  36. City services not found in other places
  37. Local control over critical infrastructure
  38. City amenities and services that many cities don’t have
  39. Relatively low property taxes
  40. Unique chamber of commerce
  41. Large number of community activities and festivals
  42. Long history of socially responsible chamber of commerce
  43. Large number of service organizations that are focused on the community
  44. Healthy, active, highly educated senior population
  45. Compact urban form
  46. Excellent community facilities
  47. High citizen retention rate
  48. Strong financial position compared with other jurisdictions
  49. Proximity to Medford
  50. City is visually attractive
 
2)Weaknesses
  1. We lose families when they reach their 30s
  2. We have a male-dominated senior staff
  3. The community lacks racial diversity
  4. Public discourse can get hurtful/disrespectful
  5. Huge gap between town and gown
  6. We lack economic diversity
  7. We are not view as an easy place to develop
  8. High cost of living/affordable housing/land/etc.
  9. Lack of family wage jobs
  10. Drug and alcohol addiction
  11. Lack of available and appropriate mental health treatment options
  12. I-5 location attracts transients
  13. We are perceived as “weird”
  14. Lack of good transit system
  15. Lack diverse resources to fund all our system needs
  16. Lack of water security
  17. Tourist economy is fragile
  18. Rats and deer
  19. Aging infrastructure
  20. Future financial capacity will be challenging
  21. Airshed can be problematic
  22. Lack of retail diversity
  23. Negative perception of our land use regulations
  24. We tend to over-regulate in order to solve problems
  25. Perception of arbitrary and capricious land use decision making
  26. Downtown is at risk for fire and earthquakes
  27. Small vocal groups/individuals can make or break development projects
  28. We are sometimes too involved in process and not involved enough in results
  29. It’s difficult logistically for families to live here
  30. School schedules are inconsistent
  31. Students lack local social opportunities
  32. SOU instability (especially funding model)
  33. Uncertainly around Mt. Ashland
  34. Lack of workforce housing
  35. NIMBY issues
  36. Resistance to change
  37. Desire to change Ashland in the image of where others came from
  38. Stalled conservation plan
  39. Failure to integrate newcomers into the community
  40. Staff near retirement
  41. Thin on administrative staff
  42. Lack of council support staff
  43. Potential loss of institutional memory
  44. Lack of succession planning/funding
  45. High incidence of drug and alcohol abuse among young people
  46. Difficulty in providing competitive pay and benefits to employees
  47. Employees can’t often afford to live here
  48. Lack of diverse stock of housing supply
  49. Lack of parking and multi-modal transportation plan
  50. Gaps in the health care system
 
3)Opportunities
  1. To recognize SOU as a generator of business opportunities
  2. SOU/city relationships
  3. E-commerce overlay
  4. Nurture tech industries and other start-ups
  5. Nurture emerging markets
  6. Market and further develop AFN.  Improve penetration/increase related revenues. Retire the debt in 2024.
  7. Opportunity for energy aggregation
  8. Engage an educated and resource heavy public in conservation measures
  9. Make our airport more robust as an enterprise
  10. Plan for climate change
  11. To make the watershed safer and increase multi-use opportunities while also protecting its integrity
  12. To make better use of our Imperatrice property.
  13. Croman property redevelopment
  14. Film industry growth
  15. City hall replacement
  16. Clean-up the railroad district and re-use
  17. Examine underperforming assets
  18. Take advantage of local talent
  19. Strengthen local non-profits
  20. Develop food security locally and regionally (promote local farms, community gardens, friendly ordinances, etc.)
  21. Optimize the downtown—guide the reinvestment opportunities
  22. In addition, reinvest and optimize opportunities in other commercial districts
  23. Position ourselves as an incubator of high-tech
  24. Leverage our high profile to have more influence in our county and state
  25. Leverage existing regional relationships to a much greater degree
  26. Use our relationship with the parks commission to develop a long-term collaborative plan for moving forward
  27. To continue to build social equity assets/ideas (example: resource center) to help those in the community at risk
  28. Leverage funding and building partnerships to explore new funding opportunities
  29. Use existing financial tools to support economic development (e.g. urban renewal, enterprise zones, tax credits, etc.)
  30. Use existing experienced leadership to do train and mentor employees
  31. Opportunity to use dry seasons to get the community to adopt “water smart” habits
  32. Develop freight rail opportunities
  33. Review the charter
 
4)Threats
  1. Natural disaster
  2. PERS
  3. Lack of meaningful home preparedness
  4. Climate change
  5. Instability of financial systems
  6. Water supply insecurity
  7. Changing economy
  8. Technology—keeping pace
  9. Neighboring counties--insecurity
  10. Aging population
  11. SOU insecurity/uncertainty
  12. Drugs and alcohol culture among youth
  13. Communication—finding best ways to communicate with our population
  14. Secure methods of protecting our technology infrastructure
  15. Pending timber legislation
  16. Mt. Ashland instability
  17. Increasing utility rates
  18. Changing tax base based on relative value of newly created housing
  19. Future revenue streams don’t match up with anticipated service levels
  20. Future of library services
  21. State legislation and/or constitutional amendments/initiatives that affect local revenue streams and/or local control
  22. Federal gridlock
  23. We have a tendency to be destructive in our public discourse
  24. Tourism industry disruptions
  25. Aging tourists
  26. Uncertainty with rail
  27. Lack of participation in government by younger adults
We value:
  1. Meaningful engagement by Boards, Commissions and members of the public.
  2. Ashland as a viable family community.
  3. Our institutional, community and regional partnerships.
  4. Innovation.
  5. Our natural environment.
  6. Excellence in governance.
  7. Being prepared for climate change.
  8. Economic opportunities that sustain a diversity of workers.
  9. Excellent city services and infrastructure.
  10. Diverse views
 

Goal Topics
Governance
Organization
Physical Infrastructure
Public Safety
Economy
Health and Human Service
Natural and built environment
Climate and energy

Ashland 2020 - To be completed by June 30, 2014
Next steps:
1)Organize opportunities by goal topic
2)Finalize goal topics
3)Filter opportunity subjects
4)Express surviving opportunities as potential goal statements
5)Choose preliminary goals by consensus or majority vote, if necessary [weed out items for which there isn’t agreement]
6)Identify specific objectives for each preliminary goal including measures, resources, and timeline
a)Seek feedback from boards and commissions and public [at some point before finalizing]
b)Invite staff input
c)Make adjustments as appropriate
7)Tactics are developed by operational departments/entities and review by council
8)Finalize the values list in consideration of the selected goals
9)Consider crafting and adopting mission statement
10)Final adoption by 6/30/14
11)Compare final strategic plan with 2025 aspirations
 
Session ended 4:45 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
 
 
 
 

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