Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2019 Budget Starts With Your Input Tonight

Tonight, the town is holding a forum for residents to attend to identify, consider and discuss strategic issues facing Oro Valley. It is a meeting to prepare for the 2019-20 budget. The meeting is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Oro Valley Public Library Adler Meeting Room. You can learn more about the session here.

According to Town Manager Mary Jacobs, this location was selected with purpose: To get people into an environment where creative thinking is encouraged.

And, for those of us who knew Bill Adler, Jacobs could not have chosen a more appropriate location.

Patrick Ibara, founder and lead partner of the Mejorando Group, will facilitate this meeting. He is Glendale-based consultancy that specializes in serving state and local government. He was selected by town manager Jacobs to facilitate the strategic leadership planning process because Jacobs wanted to bring in someone who had no "skin in the game."

Input gathered from this and other meetings will supplement the guidance provided by the 2016 voter approved General Plan. According to Ibara's proposal, the council can really benefit from current perspective and information from the community.

We agree. There are issues that weren't considered when the general plan was created, such as:
  • Potential water restrictions from CAP starting in 2020
  • Continuing and growing losses from the town run country club and Overlook Restaurant
  • The impact on town sales revenues from a shift in retail sales from "brick and mortar" to online
  • The impact of annexation on Oro Valley resources
  • Oro Valley's quality of life reduction now and in the future that will result from previous extensive general plan and zoning amendments
  • Extensive growth in Oro Valley's spending
"The council, especially this council, could benefit from hearing what residents think are the hot issues," noted Town Manager Jacobs.

Ibara's job is to "...get out of the council their priorities for the next 2 years."

Jacobs has implemented strategic planning in her previous town positions in Barnstable, MA and Sierra Vista. Initially, "there was some push back [to strategic planning] in Sierra Vista. Now they wouldn't do without it."

The strategic plan is designed to have a two year shelf life, providing guidance to town staff on priorities. This is important "... so that the budget requests for the next 2 years will reflect what it is that the council wants to accomplish over the next 2 years. That's staffing resources and financial resources as well."

Jacobs hopes that, as a result of this process, "...the council will come to a consensus on the top priorities from an outcome perspective... not the how... the what do you want to achieve. So I know where to steer the ship. It's not appropriate for me to make assumptions on the direction of this council. I want to be sure that when I bring a budget forward in April, they can say: 'Yes. They heard us.'"