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Mayor's Roundtable

Post Date:02/21/2018 8:18 AM

I hope all had a happy holiday season.  As is customary at this time of year, I’d like to share a brief “State of The City” to celebrate a few successes in 2017 and give you a heads up on developments underway in 2018.

Last year the City completed Phase 2 of the Fiber project.  We signed 3 providers onto our network, increasing competition in the local market which resulted in higher speeds and more affordable internet for Sandpoint.  Expect to see improved service to homes and small business later this year.

Notable public works projects included the downtown street 2-way reversion, the Schweitzer Cut-off Roundabout and bridge project and the Phase 1 sewer replacement on 1st Ave.

The Strategic Planning Initiative kicked off in 2017 with Council and our leadership team.  Fiscal resilience, increased transparency and better public engagement were three primary goals prioritized by City leadership.  To meet these goals, Council passed the City’s first Financial Reserve Policy, ensuring the city has the means to meet financial obligations in the midst of economic downturns, emergencies and other unforeseen financial challenges.  The City contracted with Opengov to enhance financial transparency for the public while enabling data driven decision making for City leadership.  Included in Opengov is an online forum, Open Town Hall, which gives the City enhanced outreach and engagement capacity on any number of issues.

Finally, I have initiated a Mayor’s Roundtable giving the public a monthly opportunity to meet with me to discuss updates and issues important to the City.  Previously “Lunch with the Mayor,” the Mayor’s Roundtable is now meeting at 8am on the last Friday of the month at Cedar St. Bistro (next one is Friday, January 26th).

The City’s Strategic Planning Initiative will continue in 2018 with the Citizen Survey.  This will be the test run of Open Town Hall and will give the public the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to City Council on City priorities, levels of service and other important issues.

Open Town Hall will also be used to invite public feedback on continued planning for the UofI Boyer property.  After completing the Comp Plan Map Revision in late 2017, a more detailed analysis is underway to develop a plan that can accomplish the goals identified in the Comp Plan revision.

Downtown Revitalization will continue this year as bids go out soon for construction of Phase 1, Cedar St. from 5th to 2nd.   Phase 2 of sewer replacement project will complete the sewer main on 1st from Bridge St. to Cedar and
2nd.  Design and scope of work for 2nd Phase of Downtown Revitalization will also be done this year and will include Farmin’s Landing along Sandcreek.   It will also give special consideration to the 1st and Bridge/Church intersection to ensure the best outcome for safety and traffic flow.  There will be ample opportunity to participate in all these planning efforts through public workshops and the Open Town Hall online platform.

Wastewater treatment is another major issue facing the city in 2018.  The City has contracted JUB to assist in developing a plan.  The City’s wastewater treatment facility is at the end of its useful life.  Now is the time for the City to plan for a new facility that can meet future growth and future permits which are likely to have heightened discharge standards.  Thoughtful planning can ensure least impact on future utility rates.  Two locations are currently being considered, the existing site at Lakeview Park and the Baldy site where the disc golf course is located.  Public input will be sought after the plan develops over the next couple months.

2018 will include a revision of the Parks Master Plan.  Special consideration will be given to City Beach, Farmin’s Landing and Sandcreek Lot.  The purpose of the plan is to identify opportunities to improve our parks to better meet the needs of the public.  The Little Sandcreek Watershed will also be considered in the plan.  There may be economic and quality of life benefits to be gained from expanded use of the City’s watershed.

To discuss these topics in greater depth please join me:  The Mayor’s Roundtable, Jan. 26th, Cedar ST Bistro, 8am.

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