This session of the City Council was devoted to the presentation of the long range strategic plan which has been developed over the last six  months by five citizen and staff composed sub-committees. The committees were charged with developing long range strategic plans for the following issues: affordable housing, economic development, infrastructure, natural resources and public safety. All five reports were gathered together by a consultant, Dr. Leslie DeNardis, who presented and commented on all of them at this meeting.

 In this report I will mention just a few of the interesting things that were presented by the five committees. Affordable housing is urgently needed in this community by about 5600 families. It was suggested that the city work on a comprehensive plan for affordable housing which would tighten up definitions and adopt a rehaabilitation code. New funding needs to be looked for.

Economic development needs to strengthen small businesses and encourage them to grow. Agricultural industry and food processing were recommended as possible sources of new businesses. Downtown revitalization was also discussed.

 The need for updating and catching up on maintenance of infrastructure was discussed. Funding options were suggested as the needs will increase in the next ten years.

 The most interesting suggestion from the natural resources committee was the idea of developing a regional open space master plan and an open space Authority.

 The committee on public safety emphasized how far they have come in the last year in retaining personnel and beefing up training programs. Their plan is to continue the programs already begun and enlarge the scope to include better infrastructure and equipment.

 It will be interesting to see how the City Council deals with all these interesting ideas.

 Marnie Leverett