Town moving forward with community based strategic plan

 

By Ron Giofu

Town council has given the go-ahead for the creation of a new community-based strategic plan, a plan that will last five years and give council and administration a path to the future.

The plan was approved by council at a cost of over $36,000, although $70,000 was allotted for such a project in the 2015 budget. The town selected the firm of MDB Insight, a firm the town states “specializes in the preparation of community and corporate strategic plans along with municipal economic development strategies.”

A committee comprised of CAO John Miceli, manager of planning services Rebecca Belanger and LaSalle’s director of development and strategic initiatives Larry Silani recommended the consultant after receiving five submissions in an RFP process late last year.

An administrative report co-authored by Miceli and Belanger stated that the purpose of the strategic plan is to provide a structure for mutually accepted goals and a common agenda for moving forward, identify a set of prioritized objectives that can be measured and monitored, define the purpose of the municipality and its role in achieving stated goals and balance the aspirations of the community with municipal and local resources.

Town hall sign

“The selected consultant will work with town council, administration, and the community, to create a strategic plan which has long-range (e.g. vision, mission, values), medium term (e.g. goals and objectives) and short term (e.g. specific action plans) implications,” the administrative report stated. “The plan will bring together the quality of life priorities, and thoughts and desires of the community as a whole. There is a strong interest in developing a plan that is transparent and inclusive which ensures community buy-in. The priorities and action plans established in the strategic plan will be used by administration to direct their annual initiatives. The strategic plan is not however, intended to provide the level of detail which would make recommendations on organizational and departmental staffing changes or number of employees in each department.”

Miceli said the matter has not yet gone to the town’s economic development committee, and told town council it is in the preliminary stages. The next step will be how to engage stakeholders such as the economic development committee and the community as a whole.

According to a press release issued by the town Friday, “input from residents, community groups and businesses is a cornerstone to ensuring that the vision, goals and actions in the community based strategic plan reflect the needs, values and aspirations of all community members.”

The town states there will be a number of ways to participate in this process including an on-line community survey which will be available in February. A direct link to the survey will be available on the Town’s website – found at www.amherstburg.ca – or in paper copy at the municipal offices.

The town is also planning to conduct public meetings in March to bring together residents, community groups and business owners to share priorities and seek local input.

“As a government, we want to ensure we are maximizing our resources and operating in an efficient and responsible manner. A community based strategic plan will guide us towards that,” stated Mayor Aldo DiCarlo in the press release.

The town states the plan is for the community based strategic plan to be made available on the municipal website in early summer.

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