By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
City of Washington employees will have plenty to keep them busy for the next few years if the Washington City Council adopts a set of goals that was discussed during a special session Tuesday evening.
For several hours, consultant Mark Jackson and members of the council, as well as oncoming members, discussed several issues that had been identified as important to the council members, as well as people who responded to a survey that solicited ideas for the future of Washington.
City administrator Brent Hinson has already penned a resolution adopting the nine strategic priorities discussed and several longer term goals. The resolution will be considered during the next council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington Public Library.
?The additional things they identified included continuing to promote communication with the public, including communication of accomplishments,? Hinson said. ?We are proposing that the action steps will complete the redesign of the city website and create a city newsletter.?
Hinson said there were four consensus issues the council is continuing to work on. These include: wellness park, sewer inflow and infiltration, housing development and the construction of the new municipal building. The others were voted on.
Another priority the council identified is reviewing the Washington Police Department. During the meeting council member Kathryn Salazar said that she had questioned the money spent by the police department during every budgeting cycle. She has also asked for an inventory of police equipment which she had not gotten. Hinson said that there is no overall inventory of city property.
The review will include looking at police staffing, technology purchases, managing of calls and use of an outside consultant.
The council also considered a partnership with the East Centeral Iowa Housing Trust Fund to continue to advance housing in the city. During the meeting, Jackson asked the council what they believed it was about Washington that made it special and would make people want to visit or move to town. He also said many of the answers he received were things that just about everyone in other towns say about their community. He stressed the need for the council to identify the things that makes Washington unique and market those. One goal, that will be done through the hotel/motel tax committee, is to help define Washington and promote it to internal and external audiences.
?These are more priorities that we usually have,? Hinson said. ?It is going to be a busy implementation schedule.?
The council also commits to seeing all goals remain top priorities for the next several years.