Council, mayor, city staff take part in goal setting session

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Following their July 20 council meeting, the Monticello City Council and some city staff took part in a goal setting workshop that evening.

     City Administrator Doug Herman said with a few new faces on the council, a goal setting session is always important to see where the council wants to take the city into the future.

     There were several categories outlined within the session, with ideas under each category supplied by city department heads.

     “The department heads filled out similar surveys as the council,” Herman noted.

Issues or Concerns

     The top ideas voted on by the council and mayor included:

     • TIF Funding to assist with residential development – 6 votes

     This could entail grants or rebates for developers.

     Herman said typically the city has not invested TIF funds into residential development. To do this, a change in policy would be required.

     “It makes sense,” commented Herman. “The cost of development is significant.”

     • Brick street/infrastructure repair – 6 votes

     • Water/sewer rate increases – 5 votes

     City water/sewer rates have not increased in several years. With the cost to operate the sewer plant, new guidelines and additional testing requirements, including the need for a new plant, a gradual increase in rates could help offset some of those costs.

     • Cemetery maintenance plan (quality of mowing) – 4 votes

     • Yard waste (continued collection) – 3 votes

     • Trees (planting, removal, trimming) – 2 votes

     • Sidewalks (missing connections) – 2 votes

     • Concrete street repairs – 2 votes

     • Low public confidence in city government/form of government – 2 votes

Significant Initiatives or Programs

     The top ideas voted on by the council and mayor included:

     • Continue economic development efforts – 7 votes

     Herman and Economic Development Director Derek Lumsden and worked together on several successful projects for the city, including the Creative Adventure Lab. Herman said those efforts will certainly continue to help bring new businesses to town, help with current business growth, and quality of life issues.

     • Adopt building code – 6 votes

     The building code would be all encompassing for renovations and new construction for residential, commercial, and industrial development.

     “It could include rental codes as well,” noted Herman.

     • Community tree initiative – 6 votes

     • Downtown storefront guidelines – 5 votes

     Herman said this could be the start of a downtown storefront committee that takes ideas from other communities that work well and apply them to Monticello.

     These guidelines could include: building materials, the use of awnings, signage, etc.

     • Main Street program, continued pursuit of destination – 4 votes

     • Prepare detailed schedule for annual sealcoating – 4 votes

Capital Projects/Needs

     The top ideas voted on by the council and mayor included:

     • Reconstruct Sixth Street waterway – 6 votes

     • Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade – 4 votes

     • Security cameras at key city locations – 4 votes

     While the city is not necessarily experiencing crime issues, it’s more about having complete security coverage at key locations should something happen.

     “These would not be enforcement cameras,” noted Herman.

     • Trails – 3 votes

     • Compadres building upgrades – 3 votes

     • Reconstruct two blocks of N. Chestnut Street – 3 votes

     The goal of the city council is to keep and maintain brick streets for the aesthetic and historic appeal. However, brick streets are rough on traffic, so the idea would be to upgrade what’s underneath the streets in terms of city services.

     • Repair and replace brick manholes, water values, storm sewer intakes in poor condition – 2 votes

     • Free Wi-Fi in public parks/spaces – 2 votes

     This is a rather low-hanging-fruit-type of project the city could accomplish in no time.

     Herman it’s a goal of the council and the mayor to see more internet accessibility in the city at key spots such as the pocket park, city park, Willow Shelter, etc.

     • Varvel/Linden reconstruction – 2 votes

Development and Growth

     The top ideas voted on by the council and mayor included:

     • Diversity in the community, inclusion

     • Helping local businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic

     • City codebook

Supplemental Questions/Comments

     The top ideas voted on by the council and mayor included:

     • See Public Works Director attend conferences/continuing education to bring back new ideas.

     • Team-building exercise for the council with department heads.

     • Review the city’s form of government. Should the city consider fewer council members? Pay council members more money?

     Should all council members be at-large versus having wards?

     • Identify abandoned and dilapidated homes and pursue abatements.

     • Work with a local developer to get a new subdivision within the city.

     • Promote interest to serve on the city council.


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