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City looks at strategic planning

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont City Council and city staff met on Tuesday for a Strategic Planning meeting. Things that were discussed included a vision of Fairmont, growth, and defining what success looks like and how it could be measured.

Seven of the 13 attendees tallied that housing, daycare, and livable working jobs were part of a future vision for Fairmont. Those three things were described by attendees as things that the city of Fairmont needs. Councilmember Bruce Peters said that earlier in the meeting he wrote down that housing and child care equals growth.

Other parts of the vision included bringing people to town, attracting people to town, law enforcement to provide a safe environment, redevelopment, and improving and protecting parks and lakes.

“I don’t think you’re going to have an answer for anything until we start doing things that will attract people here for different reasons,” Councilmember Brittany Kawecki said.

How growth can happen was broken up into one to three-year periods of growth. For one year, growth can come from hearing concerns from the general public, getting sales taxes and alternative funding for road work, selling farmland of Day Farms, and a community development software.

In the two-year process, things that were discussed were open office hours, a listening session, a city newsletter, and telling the story of Fairmont to increase population by recruiting others to visit and live here.

Open office hours could look like a process that was previously done by the city council and city staff. On a Saturday, city staff would give the detailed message for roughly 15 minutes and members of the community could ask questions to the council without feeling the pressure of being on a live platform like a city council meeting and it was really relaxed. The ended due to a member videotaping the event eliminating the relaxed setting of the event. Due to COVID-19, it’s been tough to bring it back, but it was discussed that they would like to bring it back.

In the three-year process, it was discussed that there is a need for a community development director and transition planning. A community development director promotes that a city is a great place to live. As of right now, the city does not have a community development director and the job is not in this year’s budget but could be in the 2022 budget. The transition planning would be for example when a city staff or city council member were to leave that there would be a plan for the next person in line for the job.

Success and how growth could be measured came in the metrics part of the meeting. Some of the examples that were discussed were class size growth in school allocation, redeveloped properties, growth in employment, growth in industry and average household income.

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