City Council Chambers

The Gothenburg City Council members gathered on Tuesday, March 23 for a discussion and planning retreat. The meeting was specifically to iron out details of a strategic plan for 2021; no action was taken during the retreat. After discussing for nearly two and a half hours, the council felt confident they had accomplished their goal.

They met for their regular business meeting in Council Chambers on Tuesday, April 6 and gave final approval to the proposed strategic plan.

According to City Administrator Gary Greer, the mayor, council and city administration has been working for the past 30 days on developing a plan to focus city resources on priorities that will assure the greatest return on investment for the citizens of Gothenburg.

“The process has developed a mission statement, guiding principles and goals for the city to follow. The plan will be updated annually and be the precursor to the budget process,” Greer stated to the council.

The document presented to the council Tuesday is simply a planning document for the budget process moving forward - it does not contain any fiscal considerations. The key for any entity to experience the highest degree of success is to have a clear mission and purpose, and a plan of how to get there. The mission of the City of Gothenburg is to “serve the community in a manner that enhances the lives of its citizens, advances economic prosperity, and promotes incredible community spaces.”

The strategic plan outlines nine guiding principles that will be used to enhance, advance and promote the city of Gothenburg. Some of the ways the council has outlined to achieve that include seeking grant funding to help offset taxpayer investments and complete an electric rate study. Plans are underway to develop a new user-friendly web page and improve the use of social media to help keep community residents better informed.

Helping promote public safety by maintaining staffing for the police and fire departments is also one of the priorities listed in the strategic plan. Also high on the list of priorities is promoting our community by participating in housing development projects, collaborating with the Gothenburg Early Childhood Learning Coalition, and actively pursuing economic development partnerships.

In terms of improving community spaces within the city, the plan focuses on the library, Pony Express Station and parks. For example, developing and implementing a plan to upgrade and improve Lake Helen’s shoreline is part of the strategy for 2021, as well as updating the irrigation and amenities at Lake Helen Park. A plan to upgrade and improve the 4-plex will also be developed, as will a master plan for developing a trail system in the community.

Improvements to the city’s infrastructure and facilities is also part of the strategic plan, which include updates to City Hall, completing street and water projects, developing a master water plan, constructing additional storage space for city equipment and updating the sidewalk replacement program. Greer said the City will also look at the possibility of adding to the existing solar field in the southwest corner of town to potentially increase electrical production.

The final guideline in the plan pertains to the workforce in the community. Professional development, employee health and wellness, and safety are some of the areas being addressed. The discussion also included ways to update technology to improve service levels to community residents.

Other action items on the council’s April 6 agenda were the approval of a request from Frances Linegar to host a Walk for Life in Ehmen Park on May 1, and the approval of an agreement between the city and Mark Alberts for relocation of a sewer line. The move will allow Herb Doering to build an addition to his home which would run over the top of the existing line. Doering told the council relocating the line would solve an age-old problem and he plans to assist Alberts with the project. The city will not incur any expense and will maintain right-of-way.

The next meeting of the Gothenburg City Council will be April 20 at 5:30 p.m. All meetings are held in council chambers at City Hall and are open to the public.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498