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…
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:
A focused effort to conduct a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.
Process should be integrated/iterative between council and staff
Council leads community SWOT analysis
Empower the staff the be honest with the council in the SWOT analysis
Avoid “us vs. them” mentality
Respect the roles of council and staff
A well crafted mission and organizational values statement that has a high level of ownership short list of major goal topics.
Develop the mission statement after other elements of the strategic plan evolve.
Develop organizational values from the bottom up.
Council may need to articulate community values that guide development of long-term goals.
Council may also need to articulate council values that guide group behaviors and actions
Needs to happen after SWOT and before finalizing goals
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.
Agreement on short-term (1-2 year) objectives necessary to make progress toward the mid to long-term goals.
SWOT analysis annually
Review short-term objectives annually
Listing of specific and measurable organizational tactics and implementation measures necessary to achieve the objectives and, ultimately, the goals.
Check in with City Council
A systematic plan for measuring progress and modifying, as necessary, the goals, objectives and tactics.
Quarterly reports—put them on Council agendas
Both council and staff may need to seek clarification on how progress should be measured
Council needs to provide feedback mechanisms for ensuring that staff has clarification
Use boards and commissions as a primary information source for decision-making and measurement
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
Seek energy independence/neutrality
Seek to become more self-reliant
Focus on measures to achieve a high level of self-reliance for goods and services
Seek to achieve carbon neutrality
Anticipate the effects of climate change and plan accordingly
Engage in sustainable forestry practices
Fully implement the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project
Examine “STAR” Community Sustainability Planning Framework
3)Maintaining and improving Ashland’s high quality of life is paramount
Protect and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources that make Ashland unique
Build on Ashland’s “sense of place” and small town feel
Strengthen partnerships and programs that enable all citizens to meet their basic needs
4)Promoting and achieving a “family friendly” community
Pursue affordable housing opportunities, especially workforce housing commensurate with local employment opportunities
Seek pathways for SOU graduates to remain in the community
Address “aging in place” issues and needs
5)Overall excellence in “governance” becomes the recognized norm.
A sustained focus on leadership development—both internally and externally
Establishment of collaborative community and regional partnerships
Effective citizen communication and engagement
There is a high level of tolerance for all viewpoints
Governance that is transparent
Boards and commissions are fully engaged in supporting the strategic plan
Increase effectiveness in regional and state policy arenas
Become more regionally connected
Charter is updated based on “best practices”
Empower community partners to help achieve the goals
6)Achieve excellence in infrastructure management and modernization
Recognize the constraints of the watershed and plan accordingly
Complete the downtown transportation plan element
Replace City Hall with consolidated office space that is safe, welcoming, fosters improved communications and serves the community long into the future
Work to keep utilities efficient and affordable
7)Creation of new economic opportunities and diversification while strengthening support of Ashland’s existing economic base
Examine and remove certain barriers to business start-up opportunities
Create predictable pathways for development of employment lands
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
The community is engaged in a conversation about core services, desired service levels and alternative or more efficient funding mechanisms.
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
Purity of the water
Full spectrum of education opportunities
People feel safe here
Abundance of world-class parks
Know our neighborhoods—strong neighborhoods
Small town feel
The Shakespeare festival alone has over 100,000 visitors each year
City staff is experienced and excellent
Ashland is well-known
People come from everywhere to be here—both visitors and permanent residents
The same people have been coming to visit here for many years
The town is small enough that our problems are not intractable
We have a very charitable community
Our citizens are self-confident
We are at a size where it is still possible to do things face to face
The community holds their elected officials accountable
We are an easy one-day drive to Portland and S.F.
We are forward thinking/progressive
Unique political make-up
High diversity of activities
High quality and diverse/alternative health care systems
Proximity to increasingly strong and well-know wine industry
Excellent culinary options
Smithsonian Lemelson Center for American History Museum 2015 exhibit studying AFR and other local creative invention and innovation ideas
Building film industry
City services not found in other places
Local control over critical infrastructure
City amenities and services that many cities don’t have
Relatively low property taxes
Unique chamber of commerce
Large number of community activities and festivals
Long history of socially responsible chamber of commerce
Large number of service organizations that are focused on the community
Healthy, active, highly educated senior population
Compact urban form
Excellent community facilities
High citizen retention rate
Strong financial position compared with other jurisdictions
Proximity to Medford
City is visually attractive
We lose families when they reach their 30s
We have a male-dominated senior staff
The community lacks racial diversity
Public discourse can get hurtful/disrespectful
Huge gap between town and gown
We lack economic diversity
We are not view as an easy place to develop
High cost of living/affordable housing/land/etc.
Lack of family wage jobs
Drug and alcohol addiction
Lack of available and appropriate mental health treatment options
I-5 location attracts transients
We are perceived as “weird”
Lack of good transit system
Lack diverse resources to fund all our system needs
Lack of water security
Tourist economy is fragile
Rats and deer
Future financial capacity will be challenging
Airshed can be problematic
Lack of retail diversity
Negative perception of our land use regulations
We tend to over-regulate in order to solve problems
Perception of arbitrary and capricious land use decision making
Downtown is at risk for fire and earthquakes
Small vocal groups/individuals can make or break development projects
We are sometimes too involved in process and not involved enough in results
It’s difficult logistically for families to live here
School schedules are inconsistent
Students lack local social opportunities
SOU instability (especially funding model)
Uncertainly around Mt. Ashland
Lack of workforce housing
Resistance to change
Desire to change Ashland in the image of where others came from
Stalled conservation plan
Failure to integrate newcomers into the community
Staff near retirement
Thin on administrative staff
Lack of council support staff
Potential loss of institutional memory
Lack of succession planning/funding
High incidence of drug and alcohol abuse among young people
Difficulty in providing competitive pay and benefits to employees
Employees can’t often afford to live here
Lack of diverse stock of housing supply
Lack of parking and multi-modal transportation plan
Gaps in the health care system
To recognize SOU as a generator of business opportunities
Nurture tech industries and other start-ups
Nurture emerging markets
Market and further develop AFN. Improve penetration/increase related revenues. Retire the debt in 2024.
Opportunity for energy aggregation
Engage an educated and resource heavy public in conservation measures
Make our airport more robust as an enterprise
Plan for climate change
To make the watershed safer and increase multi-use opportunities while also protecting its integrity
To make better use of our Imperatrice property.
Croman property redevelopment
Film industry growth
City hall replacement
Clean-up the railroad district and re-use
Examine underperforming assets
Take advantage of local talent
Strengthen local non-profits
Develop food security locally and regionally (promote local farms, community gardens, friendly ordinances, etc.)
Optimize the downtown—guide the reinvestment opportunities
In addition, reinvest and optimize opportunities in other commercial districts
Position ourselves as an incubator of high-tech
Leverage our high profile to have more influence in our county and state
Leverage existing regional relationships to a much greater degree
Use our relationship with the parks commission to develop a long-term collaborative plan for moving forward
To continue to build social equity assets/ideas (example: resource center) to help those in the community at risk
Leverage funding and building partnerships to explore new funding opportunities
Use existing financial tools to support economic development (e.g. urban renewal, enterprise zones, tax credits, etc.)
Use existing experienced leadership to do train and mentor employees
Opportunity to use dry seasons to get the community to adopt “water smart” habits
Develop freight rail opportunities
Review the charter
Lack of meaningful home preparedness
Instability of financial systems
Water supply insecurity
Drugs and alcohol culture among youth
Communication—finding best ways to communicate with our population
Secure methods of protecting our technology infrastructure
Pending timber legislation
Mt. Ashland instability
Increasing utility rates
Changing tax base based on relative value of newly created housing
Future revenue streams don’t match up with anticipated service levels
Future of library services
State legislation and/or constitutional amendments/initiatives that affect local revenue streams and/or local control
We have a tendency to be destructive in our public discourse
Tourism industry disruptions
Uncertainty with rail
Lack of participation in government by younger adults
Meaningful engagement by Boards, Commissions and members of the public.
Ashland as a viable family community.
Our institutional, community and regional partnerships.
Our natural environment.
Excellence in governance.
Being prepared for climate change.
Economic opportunities that sustain a diversity of workers.
Excellent city services and infrastructure.
Goal Topics Governance
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.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
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