City of Milton sets ambitious goals for '13
MILTON The city of Milton has 11 main goals for 2013, 11 months to get them done and about a year until the completion of the Highway 26 bypass changes the face of Milton forever.
Acting on city council ideas that came from conversations with staff, business stakeholders and residents, City Administrator Jerry Schuetz floated a list of 11 city goals for 2013.
The list, which the council approved conceptually last week, is a rough outline of priorities the council and city staff will work on over the next year—a master list of goals the city would accomplish in the best of all possible Miltons.
It's not a new concept in Milton. In fact, the city last year had a list of 13 goals, some of which the city accomplished. Among those:
-- Completing and opening the city's new public works facility.
-- Improving citizen access to city information through upgrades to technology, including improvements to the city's website and online city records archive.
-- Completing a feasibility study for a potential hotel.
Moving forward, the city is dusting off a few plans held over from last year. Priorities listed this year on the city's 11 goals for 2013 include:
-- Completing of fundraising and construction of a splash park in South Goodrich Park. The city had planned to construct a splash park in 2012, but a public-private fundraising effort went slower than anticipated, and costs for the park came in over budget. The city looks to reinvent its east side business district as a family-centric city center, and the splash park is a major part of the plan.
The city has a handful of new goals this year, including:
-- Renovating the Shaw Building, which houses City Hall and the Milton Public Library. Floor plans are being mulled over by city staff, but sources have said they could include the library being expanded, with sections of it housed on the first floor, and added space on the second floor.
-- Completing the new police headquarters at 710 S. Janesville Street. Officials said the council in the next few weeks will begin discussing costs and plans for the facility, which will house the police department and the city's municipal court.
-- Initiating recruitment of a hotel at the future junction of Highway 59 and the Highway 26 bypass on the city's east side. The effort would include strategies to seek out possible investors for a hotel project, according to Schuetz.
Many of the goals are part of the city's ongoing plans to redefine itself in the face of the Highway 26 bypass.
Mayor Tom Chesmore said he sees the list as a guiding light for planning, even if not all members of the council agree on how to reach the goals, or even which goals should be the biggest priority.
Alderman Brett Frazier said having goals keeps costs in check as the city moves straight into budget plans for 2014.
"When you look at our levy increases being negligible the last year, it's that hard planning work that really pays off," he said.
Alderman David Adams believes recruitment of a hotel is a major priority if the city is serious about redefining itself in the face of the Highway 26 bypass.
"Anchor points, like a hotel, things that could draw other businesses would be great," he said. "I think we need to work hard at recruitment for a hotel out there."
Some goals are more conceptual:
-- Maintaining at least 90 percent occupancy in downtown storefronts.
-- Bringing in one new tenant to the city's business park in 2013. It's been perennial goal of the city. Adams not only believes it's attainable, he says he thinks the city could aim even higher.
"I look at one new industry a year as a conservative goal. We should strive for more than that," he said.
Today, the council is having its first economic development commission meeting. It's one of two new city panels made of council members, city staff and members of the Milton Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.