City goals 'road map' includes environment, development

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Over the next three to five years, the City of Storm Lake will pursue four major themes adopted as a Strategic Plan - including environmental care and economic development - in a special session of the City Council last week.

City Administrator Patti Moore said the themes and goals chosen give the city staff a "road map" to focus their efforts over the next several years - however, the plan will be regularly reviewed and could be changed depending on what's going on in the community.

Moore said a plan the City set out two years ago included seven themes. "It was pretty overwhelming" to try to do that much, said Moore. "We really honed in to make it a more manageable plan." The strategic plan replaces the council's former practice of preparing a new goals list each year. "We have to spend more time planning ahead," she said.

* One of the four themes will be to Protect Natural Resources. Goals in this area include: Achieving a balance between development and environmental protection, enhance the community's awareness of environmental issues and improving and protecting water and air (anti-odor) quality. Moore said maintaining air quality means not only maintaining odor control at the wastewater treatment facillity's lift stations but making sure that area industries are doing what they can. Another goal of the City is to control wildlife. Moore said the City has been able to help maintain the geese population by using trained dogs to scatter birds from areas like public beach. She says the City is also looking at how to control the seagull population. Moore said part of this goal also includes reminding citizens not to feed the wildlife.

* Facilitating Economic and Community Development is another theme. Goals include: Creating a development friendly environment. Moore said this goal includes making sure the process is streamlined and efficient for development.

Other goals in this area include improving and expand ing housing inventory, which Moore said has been a need for many years. Also, making Storm Lake a vistor destination; collaborating with existing businesses, industries, and agencies to increase economic activity and collaborating with SLADC and other economic and development groups to recruit new businesses. Moore said the City's plans for making Storm Lake a visitor destination include finishing the AWAYSIS Project which includes renovations to the campground and completion of rental cabins. Moore said the City will also seek out other recreational opportunities that may be out there.

The remaining two themes help define how the city government will operate internally and in dealing with the public:

* Create and Enhance a Public Friendly Environment. Goals include: Developing specific strategies to enhance customer service, developing methods for measuring customer satisfaction and effectively serving and embracing our diverse population. Moore said last year they looked at providing better customer service and provided customer service training.

* Create and Enhance an Employee Friendly Environment. Goals include: Developing an organization wide "team" attitude, support employees by providing improved resources, strengthening employee recognition programs, ensure employee retention and enhancing internal customer service. Moore said last year they started employer recongition programs. She said they made sure employees were receiving a competitive wages and started an internal employee newsletter and webpage to keep them informed about what's going on.

Next, the entire city workforce will help write specific action steps to achieve the goals, which the council will approve. The steps will then be assigned deadlines and leaders to carry through completion.

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