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Archive for Sunday, October 14, 1990

ECONOMIC ISSUES AMONG CITY PRIORITIES

October 14, 1990

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— Economic development, transportation issues and long-range financial planning are among the top priorities for the Lawrence City Commission.

Commissioners gathered at a motel here Friday and Saturday with a management consultant for their second goal-setting session in a year. But unlike the 1989 session, when the commission identified a laundry list of goals they hoped to attain, commissioners developed five high-priority items on which to focus.

THE TOP GOALS identified in the session are:

Create an economic development plan that includes a strategy for addressing retail needs, increasing tourist visits and attracting specialized industries whose pay scale stimulates higher wages for local workers.

Establish, with Douglas County, a comprehensive countywide transportation plan.

Develop a comprehensive five-year financial plan that includes city spending, capital improvements, costs of services and new financial initiatives.

Develop a viable comprehensive land-use plan to replace the soon-to-expire Plan '95.

Construct the circumferential road system by 1997.

COMMISSIONERS unanimously agreed on the need for the economic development study, traffic plan and long-range financial planning package.

Four of five commissioners agreed that construction of the circumferntial loop and development of a new comprehensive land-use plan were worth prioritizing.

Four other goals of lesser priority also gained the backing of a majority of commissioners. They include working more closely with county and school district officials on a variety of issues; developing and implementing customer service strategies; and assessing the costs of growth and implementing procedures to ensure that new development is paying its fair share for increased city services.

AT THE URGING of Carl Neu, the Lakewood, Colo., consultant who moderated the session, commissioners now will develop action plans to help achieve their goals.

The goal-setting retreat, which began at 1 p.m. Friday and ended Saturday afternoon, was praised by commissioners as a worthy exercise.

"Last year I think we struggled with maybe too much and didn't get it defined down," Commissioner Bob Walters said at the end of the two-day session. "I think we're going through an evolution through this, and it's been a fascinating experience."

Commissioner Bob Schumm said the retreat wasn't a panacea for differences of opinion on the commission, but it was a means of establishing communication on common goals.

"I DO THINK we're always going to have a number of disagreements throughout the year on specific issues," Schumm said. "But if we can identify the goals of the big picture, then I think it's easier for us to understand each one's disagreements on minor parts as long as we continue to work toward the consensus goals that we set up."

Mayor Shirley Martin-Smith, at the close of the conference, gave herself and commissioners a personal goal to shoot for.

"I think it's unfortunate that we have not had the interaction year-round that we've had these past 24 hours, but I think that's a goal for me and maybe the entire commission," she said.

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