A fresh set of goals and priorities for the City of Manchester has been released following a goal-setting work session attended by members of the Manchester City Council, city staff and department heads.

In order to facilitate the findings, preliminary surveys were conducted with elected officials and staff, leading into a session that sought to establish priorities for the next one-to-two years, along with an action plan to accomplish these visions.

In order to keep the wheels moving in the right direction, four new committees were formed to advance projects the council would like to see executed in the coming year.

The first freshly-formed group, City Shop and Public Works Committee’s stated goal is to get the City Shop referendum passed some time in late summer 2020.

The group has six key actions laid out in order to initiated the gambit, including releasing a video of the existing current city shop and posting it on the city’s website, taking and printing pictures of the shop, getting drone flyover footage, hosting at least two open houses, informing citizens of the financial plan and holding a series of informational meetings.

The Community-Wide Notification System group has the goal of putting a notification system in place by April to keep citizens up to date on the myriad of 2020 street projects. To do this, they hope to have a program identified and purchased by February, with staff trained and the program set up and advertised by March, finally having it deployed by April in time for construction season to get underway.

The Residential Growth and Development Initiatives committee hopes to boost the number of requested building permits by 20%, by informing the community of the various incentive programs along with savings, rebate and reimbursement opportunities.

Starting in February, the group will gather rebate information from energy suppliers and, by April, they hope to have links on the city’s website, along with having hard copies available, of the incentives and refunds they find. By May, they want to have the incentives information presented in a language that is clear and easier for the general public to understand.

And finally, the Trails and Recreation Committee has the goal of pouring a concrete entrance to the wastewater treatment plant trail, connecting Bailey Drive to Baum Park and painting connector lanes.

Throughout the course of the goal-setting session, some of the city’s strengths identified by the group included the establishment of the monthly Committee of the Whole meetings, where department heads and the council interact to make sure everyone is on the same page, good management and coordination with non-city agencies like the county, hospital, schools and the chamber of commerce and having an engaged community where respectful disagreements can occur.

As for weaknesses, resources — as in time, funding and people power — were identified as an issue, along with the complexity in managing a number of large projects at once, population decline, housing limitations and the difficulty in getting the city’s message out to the public while also gathering feedback.

The five elected officials and nine members of staff also ranked what they felt were some major accomplishments over the last two years. The competition of the whitewater/riverfront park was the top pick, followed by the rental housing code, new parking lot behind Community Savings Bank, the Hwy. 13 water main loop project and revised tax incentives for new construction.

As for issues, concerns, trends and opportunities, the group identified available and affordable housing, declining population and flood control as most pressing.

A full copy of the 12-page report is available on the city’s website.