Strategic planning goes down to defeatIn a frustrating move for Councilman Ken Schulz, strategic planning was dumped by the City Council in a 2-2 vote Monday. Schulz has been lobbying for a strategic plan for more than a year, saying a plan would give direction for growing the community. With a unanimous vote at the last Public Works Committee meeting, the strategic plan appeared to be on its way toward development.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
In a frustrating move for Councilman Ken Schulz, strategic planning was dumped by the City Council in a 2-2 vote Monday.
Schulz has been lobbying for a strategic plan for more than a year, saying a plan would give direction for growing the community. With a unanimous vote at the last Public Works Committee meeting, the strategic plan appeared to be on its way toward development.
On Monday, Mayor Clarice Liechty pulled the resolution to develop a strategic plan off the consent agenda for further discussion. She said she wants a comprehensive plan in place before the council does any strategic planning. Councilman Charlie Kourajian agreed. He said a speaker at the League of Cities meeting said a comprehensive plan should be done first. The last comprehensive plan done by Jamestown was in 1980.
“A strategic plan is the umbrella plan,” said Councilwoman Kelani Parisien. “It’s putting the cart before the horse to have a comprehensive plan first.”
Schulz asked who was going to do a comprehensive plan. Neither Kourajian nor the mayor had an answer.
“My effort here is to get the City Council to do planning for the future,” Schulz said. “To keep putting it off keeps us in the situation where we are now. I want us to do some work on this instead of constantly putting out fires.”
Councilman Pat Nygaard was absent so the vote for a comprehensive plan failed on a 2-2 vote. Parisien and Schulz voted against.
Jim Boyd said he’s been involved in a several strategic plans. He suggested the council could do some preliminary work on the plan by starting with a SWAT analysis.
“Get the key things you want to do in the next five years,” Boyd said.
Parisien said the council could identify the issues and do a SWAT analysis. SWAT stands for strengths, weaknesses, assets and threats. She said it would even be a good idea to dust off the 1980 comprehensive plan and read it as part of the process.
“A strategic plan doesn’t happen overnight,” she said.
“We as leaders need to lead and provide some direction for the community,” Schulz said.
Because the motion to go with a comprehensive plan failed, a vote on the original resolution to develop a five-year strategic plan for the city was required. It also failed on a 2-2 vote. So at this point, planning for the future is not on the table.
After the meeting, Schulz and Parisien expressed frustration at the failure to move the planning process forward. Both also said they’ll continue to push for strategic planning.
A resolution that would recommend extending the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit past Jamestown College’s west entrance went down to defeat in the same manner. Liechty said a 25 mph speed limit beyond Hospital Hill was too slow and should be kept at 35 miles per hour.
Schulz said the concerns came from the college. The chief of police also spoke of the accidents there at the last Public Works Committee meeting.
“The number of accidents is not sufficient to reduce the speed limit there,” Liechty said.
Parisien said the council is only making a recommendation to the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The DOT would decide whether the situation warranted a reduction in the speed limit.
Again on 2-2 votes, Kourajian and Liechty to drop the request to DOT and against the recommendation to lower the speed limit past the college entrance. Schulz and Parisien voted for the recommendation and against dropping the request. The two failed votes were, in effect, a win for Kourajian and Liechty because the resolution to recommend a lowered speed limit has been dropped.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com