Council Gets Up Early to Begin Strategic Plan Review
On Friday, September 9, Rossland City Council met at 8:00 am to begin reviewing Rossland’s Strategic Plan.
Last autumn, in September and October, Council brainstormed, and sought input from staff, then went public to gather information. They also looked at economic and global trends, and surveyed local businesses. After another series of meetings to consider and work with the information gathered, Council issued its Strategic Plan. Now, a year later, Council is reviewing the plan and assessing progress made during the year.
Council had identified five priorities for the 2016 to 2018 term:
1. Upgrade and maintain City Infrastructure and facilities;
2. Increase and improve communications and public engagement;
3. Adjust service levels to be more cost-efficient and effective in eyes of users;
4. Improve staff training and strive toward a customer-driven organization;
5. Improve attractiveness of City for new investment and business competitiveness.
Early in its term, this Council dealt with a turbulent degree of staff turnover, but now the City has new Chief Administrative Officer Bryan Teasdale and new Chief Financial Officer Elma Hamming in place, with Steve Ash staying on to consult for a limited time. Manager of Public Works Darrin Albo commented, “It’s a new team,” and noted that there has been significant improvement in staff morale, and that he has never seen so much public engagement with Council before. City Planner Stacey Lightbourne agreed, acknowledging that “It will always be a work in progress.”
Councillor Marten Kruysse commented on the importance of keeping rates as competitive as possible; he spoke of capital projects, operating costs and debt servicing. Mayor Kathy Moore commented that the Asset Management Plan will help with those issues. Teasdale noted that a contract for creating a new Asset Management Plan may be awarded by the time of the next regular Council meeting.
Albo acknowledged that work on preventing “I&I” — inflow and infiltration of water into the sanitary sewer system, which results in Rossland paying more money for its share of the Regional Liquid Waste Management — has fallen behind this year because of all the other projects underway, but work is still being done on it. McLellan stated that he thinks Rossland should urge the Regional District to make provision for tertiary treatment in the new sewage treatment plant.
Hamming noted that the City’s reserves for replacing infrastructure are currently under-funded, and spoke of increases in water and sewer rates in future. Moore commented that the new asset management plan will be very helpful for making those decisions, and regards that plan as a high priority.
Councillor Andrew Zwicker had prepared a disussion paper on the Strategic Plan, but there was no time left in the meeting to discuss it fully. Cosbey moved a recommendation that Council discuss the paper, and the Strategic Plan, at its next regular meeting. That motion CARRIED unanimously.