By Steve Plunkett
The year 2017 ushered in a new era of goal-setting for the City Council.
For the first time, officials posted video of the sessions on Boca Raton’s website, and actions were given completion dates.
Also, the council did not set five top goals and five high goals. Instead it tasked City Manager Leif Ahnell with making progress in 17 policy areas.
“Give me the six that are most important to you,” said Lyle Sumek, the consultant who facilitates the sessions.
Council member Scott Singer was the first to balk, citing the timeline he and his colleagues set for updating the city’s land development code.
“Some of [the items] have more council action; some of them have less council action. It’s hard for me to prioritize that way,” Singer said.
Council member Robert Weinroth agreed.
“We’ve winnowed down hundreds of items to get to these, now 17, and I’m not quite sure whether there is a value to now winnowing it down any further,” he said, adding “these are all priorities.”
Council member Andrea O’Rourke had similar ideas.
“If we talk about business retention, expansion strategy and actions, and then compare that to, you know, the city campus master plan, I can’t compare those two in order,” O’Rourke said. “They’re both actions that need to be taken.”
Ahnell said if all 17 items were staying on the list, the priorities did not matter.
“We’re going to have to work on all of them,” the city manager said.
The areas Ahnell’s staff will focus on developing policy choices for the council include the land development code; business retention, expansion strategy and action; and the city campus master plan.
• the city’s economic development plan;
• a smart city/technology business development strategy;
• an innovation office;
• development process streamlining;
• human resource planning, succession planning and development/direction;
• city services and staffing levels;
• the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District;
• a Florida Atlantic University campus agreement and town and gown workshop;
• the university district conceptual master plan;
• a complete streets policy;
• a comprehensive waterfront master plan;
• a downtown traffic alternative study;
• the Midtown development;
• and art in public places.
The council also expects to open the city-owned Wildflower parcel on a temporary basis in September and have its seawall rebuilt, a pathway constructed and an overall design for a passive park completed in September 2018.
Former Deputy Mayor Constance Scott, who now handles local relations for Florida Atlantic University, was disappointed that no top or high priorities were set, saying that lets the public know what is important to city leaders.
“I believe in the process,” she said.
Video of the goal-setting sessions is on the city’s myboca.us webpage. Click on Government, then Agendas & Minutes. The sessions were held May 4 and 5 with the follow-up workshop June 13. Ú
By Steve Plunkett