At their January 5th work session and following City Council meetings, the Mayor and members of the Council developed an ambitious list of goals and objectives to keep Riverdale moving forward for the next two years (and beyond). While not officially “adopted” by the Council, the five-page list of goals and objectives will be used by the mayor and City staff to help focus efforts on accomplishing as much as possible during the next two years.
“The City of Riverdale has been blessed for the past fifty+ years with volunteers, elected leadership and staff who have tried their level best to make good decisions and treat residents fairly and equitably,” said Mayor Mike Bawden when asked why focus on goal-setting and long-term planning at this time. “But I can tell you from first-hand experience that every time there’s a change over in elected leadership or staff, we lose a great deal of institutional memory about how and why things are done the way they are. There isn’t much on file when it comes to written plans and procedures.”
The mayor explained that as long as the City didn’t see any major increases in population or development, the more casual approach to governance and maintenance might have been generally accepted. “All that has to change now, though, because we’re going to see Riverdale’s population double in the next 5-10 years. Failing to plan and document now could cost taxpayers dearly in lost efficiencies.”
“We’re not in any trouble,” he continued. “But now is the time to get serious and spend the time, effort and money required to get ahead and stay ahead of potential problems.”
They mayor met with council members individually between Christmas and the public work session on January 5th. While reviewing notes from those individual meetings with the City Council, additional items were added to the combined action list.
Following the January 5th meeting, the mayor organized the action items and created over-arching goals for the City of Riverdale. That document (click here for a copy) was reviewed with the Council at their January 14th meeting and with residents at the Mayor’s Town Hall Meeting on January 26th. The action items, goals and objectives will also be posted to the City’s website (and updated accordingly) in the future.
“I’ve recommended the mayor and council meet every two years (following the general election) to review and update these goals and objectives in the future and then review them in public and post them to the City’s website,” explained Mayor Bawden. He said he hopes future leaders of the City will see a beneficial outcome from taking the time to go through the process. “Whether I’m the mayor or not, I think it’s good leadership to make sure everyone knows what we’re trying to achieve.”
The City (meaning staff, elected officials and volunteers) will focus on achieving the following goals over the next two years – and probably well beyond that.
1. Re-organize and improve how the city administration/staff operates and interacts with each other and our residents.
2. Improve our fiscal controls, reports and management.
3. Maintain and improve our neighborhoods, streets, green spaces and utility infrastructure.
4. Review the current structure of the volunteer fire department and develop a comprehensive plan for its future configuration and operations.
5. Increase and improve the experience citizens have with the City and their neighbors.
6. Grow Riverdale’s commercial property base in a way that compliments the quality of life experienced by its residents.
7. Manage the growth and development of the City in a way that is both responsible (to current residents and taxpayers) and responsive (to new arrivals and developers).
So, what do you think of these goals? Have you downloaded and reviewed the action item list (objectives) the City is using for the next two years? Let us know if you have questions or suggestions for consideration as we continue to manage both the growth of the city and the various projects/items on our list.