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A road map for Farmington's future

After several weeks of discussion, the Farmington City Council has come up with a set of goals for the next five years for city staff and the community.

Council members have met with city staff since the beginning of the year to come up with the goals. On Monday, they endorsed a strategic plan that encompasses all of the goals discussed over the past several months.

"What it does is, it puts city council and staff on the same page so nobody is working on something that isn't going to happen anyway," mayor Todd Larson said Tuesday.

The strategic plan is broken into five categories -- ensure the long-term financial health of the city; position the city for future development; review the use and efficiency of city facilities; maintain the long-term viability of city liquor operations; and continue communication with residents and partnerships with other local governments.

Each category has several contributing goals and tasks, and each contributing goal or task has an identified time to be addressed. For instance, increasing user of Rambling River Center over the next five years is a goal under the category to review the use and efficiency of city facilities. Developing a fund and business attraction plan and incentive plan is a goal for 2015-16, and falls under the category to position the city for future economic development.

No one goal is more important than the other, Larson said. Instead, each goal lends itself to the success of every category in the strategic plan.

"I think they're all equally important. We have to maintain the city. It costs money to maintain the city, and we're going to do it in the most cost-effective way we can," he said. "One of our goals is to set the city up in the best financial position we can, under the circumstances that we have."

Monday's Farmington City Council meeting lasted only a half hour. Larson points to the shorter meeting as one of the early successes of the strategic plan, in that council had already addressed much of the meeting's content during the earlier workshops.

Workshops are held on the second Monday of each month at Farmington City Hall. The workshops are audio recorded and open to the public, but the discussions are not televised on the city's cable channels or website.

"The public is invited to workshops. They're just less formal than meetings, so we can get ideas out on the table," Larson said.

The strategic plan will be posted on the city's website, Larson said, so residents can see the goals, as well. One of the goals under the section to continue communication with residents is to track the status of the council goals and share the information with residents.

Now that the goals have been approved by the city council, city administrator David McKnight will assign the work to staff and provide an update to council as progress is made.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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