Port Townsend council approves strategic plan

PORT TOWNSEND — The city’s new strategic plan focuses on five areas intended to drive policy decisions and priorities for the city — economic growth, affordable housing, infrastructure, quality of life and city organization.

It was noted on the agenda for Monday’s meeting, where it was approved by the Port Townsend City Council, as a three-year plan.

“The final plan is a technically a four-year strategic plan, not a three-year plan,” City Manager David Timmons said. “The first year of the four is kind of a transition phase.”

Timmons will retire in June and the hiring of a new city manager will begin that transitional phase.

Hired 20 years ago, Timmons has been the first and only city manager Port Townsend has known. A task force, led by former mayor and Port Townsend City Council member Catharine Robinson, is creating the profile of the next manager with input from the community. A final report will be provided to the council this month.

The work planning section of the strategic plan will be presented for discussion and adoption at the next City Council meeting, which is set for 6 p.m. Monday at historic City Hall, 540 Water St.

Mayor Deoborah Stinson said the five strategic areas are consistent with the city’s comprehensive plan and other planning documents.

“Since 2016, approximately 60 percent of the action taken by the City Council has supported the current strategic plan,” she said.

The city vision statement was developed as: “a thriving community for all.” The city mission statement was defined as: “Champion aspirations for a thriving community as envisioned in our comprehensive plan.”

The plan had been discussed and refined at facilitated retreat workshops in September.

The council’s strategic plan was developed with Mike Lechter of BridgeGroup, LLC, a management consulting firm.

In 2019, the plan calls for council members to focus on special issues and action items including fire district annexation, solid waste contract request for proposals (RFPs) and selection of preferred direction, golf course lease expiration and renewal plan adoption, Olympic Gravity Water System lease expiration and transition plan, and a WAVE broadband franchise agreement.

Also to be discussed and finalized are shoreline regulations update, Upper Sims sub-area plan, the library financial plan, a parking management strategy, the water system functional plan, and continued support for capital project commitments.

Beyond 2019, several items are highlighted for future review and action in the document.

In the area of economic development, creating an opportunity zone and creative district and partnering with the Port of Port Townsend to develop a long term asset investment strategy are featured.

Under the Affordable Housing focus area, suggested items include expanding the Housing Trust Fund, partnering with other governmental agencies to establish a county housing office, and possible implementation of locally-funded low income affordable housing tax rebates.

City Organization action items post-2019 include staff compensation reviews and developing a plan for transitions and new hires.

Under the Community’s Quality of Life section, the council will consider student internships at the library, police, parks, finance and public works, and creation of a transportation benefit district to invest in the city’s walking, biking, trail and shoreline access as a priority.

Infrastructure plans include developing alternate revenue sources, developing 5 G, incorporating climate change into future design, and completing an infrastructure audit to ensure efficiency, consistency and functionality.

A detailed overview of the plan can be found at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-PTstrategicplan.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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