Council, departments to hold retreat |

Council, departments to hold retreat

Christine Metz

The Steamboat Springs City Council and city department leaders will meet tonight to set goals for the next five to 15 years.

Each year, the council holds a day-long retreat to set its annual goals, but this year it decided to meet with city staff first to set long-range goals, City Manager Paul Hughes said.

“We believe we need time every year as a council to not talk about day-to-day stuff,” Hughes said. “Rather, talk about the really big stuff, the major issues we believe the city will face in the next five years and beyond.”

Each leader of the city’s eight departments will tell the council what they see as the major issues in the next 10 years and their long-range goals.

One of the major issues that continually is brought to the council’s attention during its annual budget hearing is the city’s desire to expand its bus routes and the lack of available money to do so.

Some of the long-range plans for the Department of Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services are creating viable office and shop space, implementing the Howelsen Hill Park Ball Field plan and continual development of the Bear River Park.

Intergovernmental Services has questions on how the council sees long-term plans for grant funding for promoting historic preservation and purchasing open space, Hughes said.

This is the first time the council and department leaders have sat down together to discuss long-range goals, Hughes said.

“Council is entirely capable for next year. But a year probably isn’t enough. What would the goals be for 2014? That really is the important stuff,” Hughes said.

City Council President Paul Strong said tonight’s retreat would be the first step for the council to prioritize spending among the departments. In the past few years, the city budget has been set and all city departments have had to increase or decrease their budgets by a certain percentage.

“It really gave council very little room to maneuver,” Strong said.

Tonight’s meeting is part of a process that started last summer that requires all department leaders to review their budgets before the annual budget hearing in October.

Strong hopes the council will develop and prioritize a list of where money should go in the next few years for new or larger programs or projects.

“It’s the first step. It gives the council information to start talking about some of those decisions,” Strong said.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail

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