|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Thursday, 24 February 2011 00:00|
Hours of frank discussion and goal-setting during a Cottonwood City Council retreat in 2010 produced several strategic priorities council wants to work on in 2011, including job creation and increased recycling. Council unanimously approved its 2011 strategic initiatives Feb. 15.
At the top of the list is a goal set four years ago but yet to be realized: a study to measure the cost of growth in Cottonwood. Mayor Dianne Joens said contracting for the study is a top priority, but budget strains have prevented the city from hiring a consultant to complete the review.
The study, which council wants completed by January, will measure the costs and benefits of growth including issues of sustainability, impact fees and funding options like sales or property taxes, according to city records.
“Growth should support the cost of city services,” according to the document.
Another goal, to diversify the local economy, will entail development of enterprise zones that provide favorable tax benefits to entrepreneurs and expanded access to broadband Internet service.
“Building a strong and diversified economy is so important,” Joens said after the meeting. “With what we’ve experienced in the past couple of years, we need to create jobs so people can support their families.”
The diversified economic initiative calls for the development of an instrument approach procedure for Cottonwood Airport and a review of airport land leases. Currently, leaseholders enjoy agreements that promise decades of decreased rent far below market rates.
By May, the council wants to “obtain a second opinion regarding the legal parameters of the original lease agreements,” according to the document.
The economic diversity initiative also calls for the creation of a revolving loan fund to support new businesses by March 2012. Council will work with Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce to promote a “Buy Local” campaign by August 2012.
Joens called for strategic planning when she first took office in 2007. Before that, council did not normally meet to make long-range plans for the city, she said.
“When I became mayor, we hadn’t met in four years. It was one of the very first things I called for and within a few months we had a retreat,” Joens said. “We’ve done that every year since. Every year we’ve gotten together as a council and created this document.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” she said.
City Manager Doug Bartosh moderates the council retreat, which includes key city staff and all council members. Cities normally pay $6,000 or more for such services, Joens said.
“I’m really proud of our council and Doug Bartosh really helps a lot as a moderator.”
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