By Dean Andrews, Mayor, Charles City
Last week the council and I held a work session to review our goals and strategic plan going forward.
This process is conducted once every two years with an outside facilitator to determine what our priorities are for the next year. On alternate years, we meet to review these goals to see where we are in their implementation.
By accomplishing this process this time of year, it helps to provide some guidance as we prepare the annual budget beginning in January.
Several of the goals which were on our list from last year have remained as “givens” in this year’s package. These are areas where the goal implementation has been started, but not yet completed. These goals would be:
• Continuation of the city-wide wayfinding signage — This project was sent out for bids last summer but only one bid was received and it was well over the budgeted plan. The city will rebid this project this winter with the hope of receiving more affordable quotes.
• Charley Western Bridge replacement — The demolition of the old bridge has been completed. The city is now in the process of seeking grants for the bridge rebuild, as well as budgeting funds and seeking donations to complete this valuable link in our trail system.
• Fiber to the home broadband project — The city has hired a firm which is currently surveying the city and developing a plan of how the system would look. Once the plan is developed, the city will look at costs and hopefully move forward with its implementation.
• Development of a certified industrial park site. The city has been working with the Area Development Corp. and the county to develop this industrial site. By having a “certified site” we are able to more readily market a property on our own and through the Iowa Economic Development Authority to potential business and industry. This shows that we have a site that is ready for development — the infrastructure is there, the location is close to a four-lane highway, the drainage issues have been studied — all things that are important to a potential client.
After this list of givens, the council then considered more than 50 suggestions submitted by me, the council members, the city administrator and all of the city department heads.
Ideas were discussed and then rated by the five council members and myself in degree of importance. From that rating, nine additional items rose to the top. These are:
• Update software and systems within City Hall.
• Research stormwater issues within the city.
• Develop a multi-year capital improvement plan.
• Program for removal/remediation of blighted properties.
• Long-term street improvement program.
• New wastewater lift station to replace the flood-prone station by Otto’s Oasis.
• City-wide sidewalk repair program.
• Tax abatement program for residential housing.
• Shared tech person for grant writing and social network updating.
We have not yet received the full report back from our consultant, but when we do the council will again get together and re-define our path for the future.
• • •
Speaking of the future, I would like to congratulate many of our high school students this month, specifically our fine arts programs. I have had the pleasure of attending three events recently which were all top-notch.
First was the play “Cinderella.” The acting, the singing and the dancing were all first-rate. I told vocal music director Derek Sturtevant that it is great to see the community support these plays with their attendance, because they know they will see an entertaining performance. This was no exception.
On Monday I attended the Veterans Day program at the high school. This program was organized by Jim Lundberg and his FFA students. Participants included the high school symphonic band and the Comet Choir. Once again, a very well-designed and meaningful program to honor all veterans.
The final program was the high school fall vocal music concert. With the performance by four different ensembles, the concert featured more than 140 students.
I have always believed that Charles City is a community that enjoys and supports the arts, and it appears that these students are carrying on that tradition.
Congratulations to all!