It is all starting to come together.
From 6-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Great Bend Events Center, the City Council will hold its strategic planning retreat. It is the culmination of a long-range planning effort that started in January.
“It’s a opportunity for the council and the staff to get together and prioritize their vision for the next three to five years,” City Administrator Kendal Francis said. “They will be setting their goals and finalizing their vision.”
It was this past December that the Great Bend City Council approved a contract with the Austin Peters Group of Overland Park for strategic planning at a cost of $10,867.50. This has involved one-on-one council member meetings with consultants, stakeholder group meetings with five to seven groups, conducting an online community survey and developing the actual plan and goals.
The process got underway in January. Now, the community meetings are over and the survey results have been tabulated.
Francis said the consultant will be on hand next week to help guide the council’s discussion. The governing body has held planning sessions before, especially leading up to the budget planning process, but this is a little different, Francis said.
“This is a little more formalized,” he said. “The consultant will help elicit good responses from the council.”
They will be presented with the feedback from the focus groups and the responses from the survey, he said. “We going to try to blend it all together.”
A third party was also important for the sake of impartiality, Francis said. “This is not the administrator’s plan. This is council-driven, this is staff driven.”
The consultant will compile the information from Monday and Tuesday night, and submit a draft plan for the council and staff to review. Revisions will be sent back, with a final plan ready by the end of May.
Although technically public meetings since the council will be gathered, Francis said these area really more work goal-setting sessions for council members.