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Rushford delves into strategic planning

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Oct 12th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Government

After the first of several scheduled strategic planning meetings, Rushford’s council and administrative staff is developing a clearer picture of the future of the city. Guided by nine strategies for success, three key topics, including the Public Works, the Police department, and city budget, were discussed at length. At the Monday, October 9 council meeting, the discussion continued.

In regards to the budget, Councilor Vern Bunke offered that perhaps the city ought to prep for budgetary talks far prior than when the preliminary budget is set each September. “We always seem to be working under the gun. If we can get it on the department heads’ calendars early enough, and get it to the council earlier, we could discuss it earlier,” he noted. “I’m more comfortable with that. It’s not just throwing a dart at a board.”

City Administrator Steve Sarvi agreed. “September doesn’t give you much wiggle room and there’s not much we can do after that. I hesitate to go into September tight and not be able to make adjustments later in the year,” he cautioned. “I think it might be a good idea to have a sub-committee to meet with the department heads and crunch the numbers ahead of time.”

Another key point for Bunke is aiming to maintain a 0 percent increase for the 2013 budget. “For our citizens, that should be our goal,” he offered. “We’ve discussed the concept in the past. My point is to maintain a high level of service and performance. If we can find a cheaper way to do it, we should do it.”

As in years past, Bunke also highlighted other potential cost savings to the city. “We need a thorough study of current time/task relationships to seek potential expense reductions, performance enhancements, and training opportunities for each employee,” read a memo to the council provided by the councilor. “The purpose is to provide understanding and definition of the effectiveness and efficiency of the current labor model being utilized within current city staffing needs,” it continued. For Bunke this is especially noted with the Public Works department.

“It’s an opportunity to understand Public Works better, but we’re going to have to ask them to provide us with some data. To them, it’s an onerous thing, but without the data we don’t know. We can make better decisions with it,” said Bunke.

A second strategic planning session has been scheduled for Saturday, November 3, from 9am until noon, at city hall. There the council and staff hope to discuss the remaining items from the agenda list including Economic Development Authority (EDA), Rushford Municipal Electric, Planning and Zoning, Tree Board, Library, and Council/General Government.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, October 22, at 6:30pm, at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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