Sounds like the beginning of a Star Trek episode doesn’t it? Yes, I’m a big geek at heart….
I talked to everyone last week about setting up the ground work to be successful. We talked about using 2015 to create changes in staffing, to open communications with the public, and to capture what is required to return the city to sustainable revenues while providing ongoing infrastructure improvements and meeting the quality of life needs of our residents. We talked about the changes made in Economic Development to be more business friendly and to be prepared to operate at the speed of business.
Specifically, during 2015 we identified unmet needs in water and sewer infrastructure, paving updates, deferred maintenance of city owned property and unmet needs in our parks and quality of life amenities for our residents.
We now know the “what” and we have put tools and personnel in place to start dealing with “how” to bring us back to sustainable revenues to accomplish our unmet needs.
2016 will be the year we put the pieces together to connect from where we are today to where we need to be to consistently pave roads, maintain water utilities, upgrade our parks, and restore quality of life activities each year, every year, moving forward.
I firmly believe that it is possible to reach sustainable revenues and to be ready to continually fund all needed areas in the city within the next five years, or by 2020. We have put together the skeleton framework of how we could get there in five years, and I’ll be sharing the various pieces of that plan throughout the next several weeks.
When you see it, it will look aggressive, but it also looks possible. Could the economy tank again? Sure. Could a major employer suffer some type of loss and set us back? Sure. We could also become the next Austin Landing and blow this plan out of the water. You build a plan with the current information at hand and we will adapt as we move along the path with new information that becomes available.
This year we will specifically be looking at the following areas:
- a new Downtown Master Plan built on the Main Street concept;
- Community Visioning of What our Residents would like Middletown to become;
- A new Zoning Code incorporating the most modern concepts in zoning overlaid with Middletown’s objectives in land use and economic development;
- A housing study that helps us over time to create a vibrant housing stock with improving property values;
- An update to the Airport plan to open new development opportunities at the Airport;
- A pedestrian/bicycle/automobile/transit study that gives us better ways to move people throughout the city to shopping and jobs.
We know the “what” as far as how much additional revenue we need to consistently provide needed city services to our residents. The list above helps us create “how” we raise those revenues.
My goal is to create a plan that raises those revenues as much as possible with new jobs and with new families moving into the city and not by taxing our existing residents any more than necessary in the process. Will this be free to you? No… but watch over the next few weeks as we lay out the “how” and see how we have structured this to affect you as little as we could and still meet the goal of sustainable revenues by 2020.
With a full plan completed in 2016 and 2017, the next few years will be spent working hard to meet the plan goals by the end of 2020. One year preparing, one year planning, three years of hard work and execution. Sustainable revenues meeting city resident needs by 2020.
It will be hard. It will be aggressive. It will take a little bit of good luck in the economy. It’s the right time for the right goal. Let’s get back to sustainable revenues and fixing our city. I’ve said it several times in public. “You can’t fix Middletown on Thursday.” I believe we can fix it in five years, however….