Tuesday, July 19, 2011
STRATEGIC PLAN LAYS OUT COUNTY’S LONG-RANGE GOALS
Comprehensive plan update. Levee certification. Highway 101 flooding. New or remodeled county jail.
The number and scope of projects on the to-do list for Clatsop County appears daunting. But County Manager Duane Cole is launching an effort to organize those tasks in a single Strategic Plan that enables the county to prioritize the projects and best allocate its resources to tackle them.
Cole presented a draft of the plan at a joint work session of the county board of commissioners and planning commission July 13. The county commissioners made the creation of a strategic plan one of their goals for the current year.
A tentative schedule calls for the draft plan to go to the planning commission for its review in August or September, followed by a series of community meetings around the county to gather citizen input. Cole hopes to have the plan go to the board of commissioners for its review and adoption in early 2012.
The draft plan contains 46 different projects. Most have been on the county’s radar for some time – replacement of the aging county jail, for example. Organizing them all in one comprehensive plan, Cole said, complete with estimated price tags and potential funding sources, will better allow staff, policy makers and the public to decide which project to assign higher priority, so that finite resources – staff time and funding – can be allocated to each in the most efficient manner.
“A strategic plan can lead to long-term results if the plan is a focal point for the board and staff priorities during the coming years,” Cole said in a staff report to the board. “It can also educate the community regarding important projects and provide the county with an overall sense of leadership and direction.”
The plan will focus on major, one-time capital and planning projects – not ongoing work such as road maintenance, Cole said.
Capital projects on the draft list include, in addition to the county jail, emergency communications improvements; a joint public works facility; household hazardous waste collection center; flood control on U.S. Highway 101 south of Seaside; and park and pedestrian improvements in Westport.
Proposed planning projects include an update of the county’s comprehensive land-use plan; Clatsop Plains water and sewer issues; ocean planning policy; transportation system plan update; certification of dikes and levees; and a housing quality plan.
Prioritization will take into account not only how much a particular project may be desired, but also what chances it has of being completed, Cole said.
“For example, a by-pass may be a high priority, but based on funding, the environmental impacts, and lack of agreement on a specific solution it may be years before the project is ready to proceed,” his staff report states.
Community Relations Coordinator