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Tacoma City Council outlines goals and priorities

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Feb. 22, 2011 at 2:36 pm with 13 Comments »
February 22, 2011 2:41 pm

Attracting more conventions to town. Developing target numbers for new businesses and job growth. Creating a customer service culture of “yes.”

During a quick but detailed study session today, the Tacoma City Council outlined these and other goals for the next two years as part of a comprehensive strategy that emphasized various economic development programs and initiatives among its top objectives.

In all, the council’s agenda — the byproduct of a recent all day council retreat to refine and update a three year action plan already underway — includes six umbrella categories under which council members have identified a host of issues to pursue.

They include economic development; education; sustainability/neighborhoods and housing; public safety; transportation and government performance (To see more details, we’ve included the council’s PowerPoint presentation below.)

Council Priorities 2011-2012 Study Session 2-22-2011

“The good thing about this is, we didn’t start from scratch,” said Mayor Marilyn Strickland, noting that goals targeted for this year and 2012 are key to “finishing what we’ve started” under the plan.

Council members have said that economic development discussions dominated the council’s recent retreat and have led to several ongoing and expanded initiatives that the council ranks at the top of its priority list.

Such objectives include creating a comprehensive economic development strategy for the city that promotes entrepreneurship, supports local businesses and will seek to enhance Tacoma’s standing as a destination for tourism, conventions and amateur and high school sporting events.

City officials have said that Tacoma’s lack of hotel room space has often been cited as reason for various conventions from choosing other cities to hold events — an issue the council will seek to examine.

Other economic development goals include creating an urban design plan for the city that targets density and incorporates existing plans, and targeting strategies to attract and retain high growth businesses, specifically in the information technology/security; clean energy/environment, health care and manufacturing fields.

Council members also aim to ensure the city develops and implements a branding strategy for Tacoma to accentuate its assets and attract national press.

“Sometimes it seems the only time you hear about Tacoma is when it’s negative,” Strickland said. “We want to make sure we’re proactive in promoting the positive.”

Among education goals detailed during today’s meeting was a primary objective to “continue to make education a civic priority,” Strickland noted.

Largely pushed by the mayor, the council will seek to accomplish this objective by seeking to implement recommendations from Strickland’s task force on education, which I recently wrote about here.

Amid funding cuts and rising costs that recently led to two branch library closures, the council will also seek to conduct the first comprehensive study in 20 years of the Tacoma Public Library system and its changing priorities.

Also ranking among the council’s highest priorities was “creating and maintaining healthy neighborhoods,” a goal the council will seek to achieve by expanding the community gardens program, adopting and implementing a new affordable housing policy, and implementing “attractiveness” strategies at city entry ways and by adding arts elements to neighborhoods.

Among other goals, the council will seek to implement a task force’s recommendations for making the city more energy efficient and eco-friendly; develop a formal historic preservation plan; reduce youth gang involvement and crime and continue and expand various public safety programs.

Transportation goals include improving the city’s transportation infrastructure and developing a plan to communicate accomplishments to citizens, creating a comprehensive transportation strategy and expanding street car service, among others.

The council also seeks to improve government performance in various areas, including better coordinating and streamlining potential duplicative services between general city government and Tacoma Public Utilities (media relations and government relations were cited as examples).

Other government performance goals include continued monitoring of the city’s budget and funding priorities, as well as creating a “customer service culture of yes,” by removing bureaucratic red tape and other barriers for citizens and businesses, as well as implementing technology to allow online payment of fines and fees.

Although council members ranked each issue by importance, council members said all of the goals are worthy.

“The fact that it’s on the list (means) they are important,” Councilman Marty Campbell said.

Councilman Jake Fey noted that while the council should be held accountable for ensuring that many of the goals are achieved, many other objectives on the list fall to City Manager Eric Anderson and his staff to accomplish.

“We need to see some progress on these goals (this year),” added Strickland, adding that Anderson is “enthusiastic” about tackling the priorities list.

Leave a comment Comments → 13
  1. Soundlife says:

    Wow, if they are serious about creating job growth in Tacoma, one can only reason that they have cancelled all future meetings and have decided to resign?

  2. tacomajoe says:

    There are hundreds of hotel developers in the nation – how many have looked at building in Tacoma and decided the demand isn’t there, and it makes no financial sense to build here?

    Oh wait – here comes the Tacoma City Council to create artificial demand. Sweetheart deals to financers, tax breaks to contractors, etc. They can’t even accept a gift without begging for taxpayer funding – God knows what sort of debt burden the mayor and council can create out of this one.

    Fix the potholes first!

  3. kevin22262 says:

    Kudos to the city council for taking so needed steps.

  4. kevin22262 says:

    or… “some needed steps”. :)

  5. uratroll says:

    There is nothing else to say…

  6. smcelhiney says:

    http://www.traveltacoma.com/news.php?nid=135 An interesting perspective on hotel rooms in the area… and the ones that are coming on line now and in the near future. Even in the busiest times hotels here are averaging 80% occupancy… I don’t get the need for more of them.

  7. tree_guy says:

    All things are possible when you create an awesome power point demonstration. HAHAHAHA

  8. tree_guy says:

    How does vilifying the State of Arizona attract more conventions to town? Please explain.

  9. tree_guy says:

    The culture of “yes” has already been in place for quite awhile.

    Yes, we will accept a gift from your country regardless of how much it costs us to accept it.

    Yes, we will pay our employees at the 70% level even if we can’t afford it.

    Yes, we will permit digital billboards even though we said 23 years ago, no more billboards.

  10. The revolution will not be power pointed.

  11. Economic development idea: hire local artists to create more attractive, relevant, and less geriatric clip art. Heck, you could probably get it for the cost of 3 or 4 Microsoft Office licenses.

  12. Bla-bla-bla-bla-Bla.

    Fix the streets. Restore the libraries.

  13. More hotels when the ones that are already here have an average (actual) occ. rate of 65%???? WHY???
    Continue to fund the LID program with 20% of Gas Tax income so that we can pave more alleys, build pretty planters downtown and construct sidewalk “bulbs”. Nobody can even provide an answer as to what the purpose of these things are or explain why we are building them (check them out on N. 26th between Stevens and Proctor) when we have areas around town that don’t even have sidewalks.
    Residents on North 21st have been promised sidewalks since the 1940’s. There are no sidewalks, but by God they got a bicycle lane (another brilliantly stupid waste of money).
    Priorities, Madame Mayor. Priorities. Every street should have a sidewalk BEFORE one more alley gets paved or one more “bulb” is constructed or another bike lane diverts traffic. Freeze the LID program and return those diverted funds from the Gas Tax to the Street Maint. budget and get to fixing the streets. When EVERY pothole is filled and EVERY street has sidewalks, THEN you can pave alleys, build planter boxes and reconfigure the streets for rickshaw traffic. Priorities, Mayor. Priorities.

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