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Council Sets Top Priorities for the Year

The City Council held a Council retreat last weekend. Among a few things, it discussed a list of items that the Council should work on a priority basis for the next year.

The Council will continue to work on the existing items, such as City Hall, Hollywood commercial Streetscape, Gateway Park, and College Park Woods Pool, however, it also a voted to set priorities from a list of new items. The top priority new items include (1) Charter Amendment (extending Council term to 4 years) (2) completion of the Trolley Trail and the bike/pedestrian connectivity, early redistricting etc. Other items that were on the new list, but the Council did not make to the top of the list include (1) Police study implementation (2) Community / senior center (3) Duvall Field improvements (3) feasibility study concerning building codes (4) Pay As You Throw and bulk trash study (5) Stormwater issues and drainage (6) Parking study (7) Business recycling program (8) Business recognition program (9) Improvements of Farmers MArket.

As I noted to the Mayor and Council earlier, it’d have been better if the Council made an effort to incorporate residents’ input about the list we worked on. We should have given the residents an opportunity about how they want to spend their tax dollars on items they think most or least important to them. For example, the matter of extending Council term to 4 years may not be as important as other items in the list, such as adding more amenities (senior/community center), or Duvall Field reconstruction. The decision of prioritizing the list was a significant one, as the City will be spending staff time and budget money according to the top priorities set at the retreat. It’s our general practice to seek residents’ input before we make major decisions.

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8 Comments to “Council Sets Top Priorities for the Year”

  1. By Mary Cook, January 29, 2018 @ 10:39 am

    Thank you so much for publishing this list. I stopped by the retreat on Saturday, but the mayor and council were in closed discussions. Afterwards I received feedback from a resident who attended as well as a councilmember. It is very disturbing that the day-to-day needs and wants of the majority of our residents are ignored. I appreciate that you continue to fight the good fight, Fazlul.

  2. By Steve, January 30, 2018 @ 9:06 am

    Didn’t we just have election? Didn’t you and other councilmembers spend months speaking with residents about their thoughts and wishes for the city? Didn’t we just do a city-wide survey? Why do we attend civic association meetings and discuss issues if our elected officials are not going to use that information to inform their agenda? I want my elected leaders to have a vision and a good sense of what their residents want. Residents want the opportunity to provide input and feedback and help shape how priorities are executed in the city, but we don’t need to be surveyed about every little thing.

    Since you have an issue with these priorities, I’m assuming you believe there are other things not on here that you think should be, based on your conversations with residents. My recommendation would be that instead of griping publicly about doing another survey and continuing to feed this false narrative that residents are not listened to, you proactively fight for the priorities you feel should be included (i.e. your job as an elected official.) By not doing this, you are effectively not listening to your residents.

  3. By Fazlul Kabir, January 30, 2018 @ 3:55 pm

    Steve, Thanks for your comments. I wasn’t suggesting to do another survey. I was merely suggesting to allow residents to give their comments (via emails , public hearing) before the Council voted on the priority. The Council always takes formal public input on all items it votes on. One way we can make this happen for future retreats is by sending out the list of items well in advance of the retreat to the residents, invite them to give input, and preferably hold a listening session on the entire list. This would help the Council to consider residents’ input when they vote and make the priority list at the retreat. Hope this clarifies. Thanks again for your thoughts.

  4. By Steve, January 30, 2018 @ 8:25 pm

    Fazlul – did you suggest this at the meeting? Don’t residents have the opportunity to provide input on council action at all council meetings and before any votes are taken? And again, I’ll ask – why are you not advocating for the specific issues that didn’t make the priority list?

    Mary – according to the council agenda, the discussion on priority items was done in open session. Your continued attempts to frame this retreat as somehow improper is just silly – give it up. Attempting to so distrust and conspiracy was clearly a failed strategy for your mayoral campaign

  5. By Steve, January 30, 2018 @ 8:43 pm

    Mary – the discussion of the priorities, according to the meeting agenda, was done in open session. If you couldn’t be there for that portion of the meeting, that’s on you. Your continued attempts to frame this meeting as improper are really silly. Attempting to sow distrust and conspiracy was a losing strategy for your mayoral campaign, so probably best to stick to the actual issues (and reality.)

    Fazlul – you did not address my question as to what you are doing.about the issues that did not make the list. Clearly, you believe there are other issues that should be included. What are you doing about those?

  6. By Todd B., January 30, 2018 @ 8:44 pm

    I can’t believe this council is not going to allow the residents to comment on the priorities at all! What is wrong with you people!

  7. By Cheryl, January 30, 2018 @ 8:47 pm

    You know you’re doing it right when you’ve got a leader like Mary Cook in your corner. Keep up the work.

  8. By Fazlul Kabir, January 31, 2018 @ 6:56 am

    Steve, I’ve made the suggestion for future retreats. For this past retreat, it was too late to change the process. We agenda item was called “Discussion of 2018 Strategic Priorities”. I wasn’t even aware that a vote was going to take place. No public comments were taken before the vote. Hopefully we’ll make it right at the next retreat.
    About other question – I do advocate other items that did not make the list. That includes Duvall Field construction, adding more amenities to residents. Residents have been talking about them for a while.

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