Woodstock Town Council OKs strategic plan

The Woodstock Town Council approved on Tuesday evening a five-year strategic plan that begins in 2018.

The 74 page comprehensive plan lays out eight goals administrators, team leaders and the Town Council will work on in the coming years.

“Our management team and Town Council worked really hard to get to the final document. I am proud of the work that went into it,” said Town Manager Angela Clem.

Woodstock has a population of about 5,500.

A few objectives being considered are listed with each goal. See the entire strategic plan at www.townofwoodstockva.com

Ensure the town is a great place to do business: To meet that goal, the town plans to conduct an analysis of existing economic conditions, including assets in the town. Town officials also plan to identify and inventory vacant parcels of land and buildings as well as under-utilized parcels of land and buildings for possible commercial development.

Town officials also would like to design and then implement economic development tools and incentives to draw business to the community.

They plan to look at water and sewer rates to see if they are fair and competitive for big businesses, which typically use the most water and sewer services. They also plan to update ordinances and policies they believe could be barriers for economic development.

Ensure that the town is a competitive and innovative employer: Woodstock administrators plan to continue the training already in place, as well as performance feedback. They would like to establish a recognition program to reward years of service.

An important part of this goal is to create a succession planning tool so that important institutional knowledge is not lost, including a staffing plan based on a department’s needs into the next 10 years.

Commitment to responsible fiscal management strategies: Administrators plan to conduct an analysis of the town’s cash flow and look at appropriate diversified public funds investment opportunities.

Set standard for local government performance that will meet or exceed national standards for public service: The town plans to incorporate past suggestions from the Government Finance Officers Association to improve the yearly Comprehensive Annual Finance Report they file. Officials hope implementing the suggestions will improve the  readability of and transparency in the report.

They also would like to collaborate with departments to develop meaningful departmental measures linked to the yearly budget process to help make funding decisions..

Administrators have a goal to improve engagement with citizens:  One action for better communication is already in the works. Woodstock officials are working on redesigning town images and the town website. They are researching at creating at least two types of online transaction opportunities, such as to file employment applications or to file for permits. They would also like to implement an emergency notification system to communicate with residents.

The town is also considering bringing back the quarterly newsletter to be included in billings. They would also like to start a Neighborhood Watch Program for more community and police communication.

Ensure Woodstock is beautiful place to live, work and visit: Part of the strategic plan would be to create streetscape guidelines to govern the look of public spaces as well as guidelines for historic markers, banners, poles and others.

Link valuable neighborhood amenities: One  goal is to develop a pedestrian and bicycle pathway to improve travel and recreation opportunities. Administrators would also like to plan activities for a proposed rail to trail development.

Preserve the town for future generations by creating a sustainable environment: Administrators would like to create an urban tree utilization program and educational outreach on wood reuse. They would like to see more wood reused in creative ways to keep it from going into landfills.

Another part of the goal involves administrators and council members looking at the town’s waste water treatment plant and generating a report to look into benefits of retrofitting the technology used at the plant to save electricity.