Chairman Hakeem Outlines City Council Priorities

Thursday, February 13, 2014

City Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem on Wednesday released a strategic plan outlining the priorities of the City Council.  Seven of the nine-member City Council started their first terms in April and met in a strategic planning session late last year. 

“Each City Council is different and it is important that we make the most of our time together as a legislative body,” said Chairman Hakeem.  “Through the process of developing a strategic plan, we have focused our attention on the issues that matter most to our individual districts and how those interests affect the city as a whole.

“Of course, public safety is of the greatest significance to this Council.  And as we work hand-in-hand with Mayor Berke’s Administration, I’m confident we will make Chattanooga a safer place to work and live,” he added.

In addition to identifying crime reduction as the primary shared concern of the community, the Council’s strategic plan identifies five additional major goals for the City Council to focus on over the next three years: 

·         repurpose all existing City-owned vacant lots;

·         promote small businesses throughout the City;

·         increase revenue sources;

·         achieve well maintained roadways;

·  develop and promote vocational education.

The City Council adopted its new mission statement “to promote an ethical, inclusive environment which enhances and sustains the well-being of the people”, while their shared vision statement is “to be the regional center for economic development accomplished through innovation, sustainability and partnerships, creating a dynamic environment in which to live, work and play.”

“While each Council member was elected to represent his or her home district, we have a duty to consider the larger community as well,” said Chairman Hakeem. “I believe this strategic plan shows how closely aligned we are with the concerns of our citizens.” 

“The Council and my Administration are committed to working together to make our city better for all Chattanoogans,” said Mayor Andy Berke.  “Whether it’s ensuring safer streets, smarter students, a growing local economy, stronger neighborhoods, or a high performing government, we each have a role to play in the success of our great city.”

City Council Strategic Plan

In late November 2013, the City Council underwent a strategic planning process facilitated by the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Institute for Public Service through the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). The development of the plan was conducted by Honna Rogers and aided by Margaret Norris. The session began with an overview of the planning process. The objectives were to create a mission statement, scan the internal and external environments, create a vision statement, then devise goals and objectives to guide the Council in achieving its vision. This plan fully accomplishes the aforementioned goals and objectives.

MISSION STATEMENT

The first exercise of the Council was to develop a mission statement and came to a consensus on the following:

The Council’s mission for the City of Chattanooga is “to promote an ethical, inclusive environment which enhances and sustains the well-being of the people.”

 VISION STATEMENT

 The Council was then tasked to develop a vision statement. The purpose of the vision statement is to encapsulate the future overall goal of the City. The Council came to a consensus on the vision statement below:

 The Council’s vision for the City of Chattanooga is “to be the regional center for economic development accomplished through innovation, sustainability and partnerships, creating a dynamic environment in which to live, work and play.”

 STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, and THREATS ANALYSIS

 Strengths

 The next step in the planning process was to conduct a SWOT analysis. To complete this exercise the Council analyzed a variety of information including data detailing regional, local, and national trends in education, economic development, health, and demographics.  Through this analysis, the Council determined the City’s strengths included: a robust publicly-owned fiber optic network, a strong philanthropic community, a vibrant downtown, strong community involvement and sense of national and local pride, cooperation with the Mayor and his Administration, strong economy, natural beauty, diversity, and a robust transportation network.

Weaknesses

Equally important to determining strengths, the Council was tasked with determining the City’s weaknesses.  The Council identified the following weaknesses: violent crime, an aging community leadership, lack of available funding, a part-time Council, a community divided by income, lack of affordable housing, lack of youth preparedness, insufficient infrastructure, and lack of citizen trust in the police force.

Opportunities

The Council identified several opportunities for the City, including: increasing research and development, expanding workforce learning opportunities, VW expansion, our natural resources, increasing development, increasing diversity, increasing sporting events, putting plans into action, improving public education, alleviation of congestion, expanding the movie industry, improving infrastructure planning, promoting a greater sense of City’s patriotism, and expanding small businesses.

            Threats

The threats to the City included: crime, large infrastructure investments like the Wilcox Tunnel and the consent decree, a lack of funding, traffic congestion, natural disasters, poverty, low recycling rates, a terrorist attack, an unprepared workforce, low performing schools, and sprawl.

            Key Issues           

The Council identified the most critical key issues were increasing economic development and job growth and improving the local education system to prepare students for successful lives.

GOALS & OBJECTIVES

The Council worked to develop a list of goals and objectives to address key issues, meet the mission of the Council, and help the Council achieve its vision for Chattanooga. These goals, in no particular order, are:

·         reduce crime to make Chattanooga a safer community in which to live, work and play;

·         repurpose all existing City-owned vacant lots;

·         promote small businesses throughout the City;

·         increase revenue sources;

·         achieve well maintained roadways;

·         develop and promote vocational education

The Council recognized that each of these goals must be joint efforts with the Mayor’s Administration as they are an integral part of the process. These goals are meant to help guide the work of the Council over the next three years in moving Chattanooga forward.

CONCLUSION

The Council’s dedication to developing and executing this strategic plan demonstrates their strong commitment to improving the quality of life in their districts and across the City. Since cities are dynamic and rapidly changing places, this document should also be easily adapted to fit the circumstances facing the Council. The City’s legislative branch has a critical role to play in advancing the well-being of the Chattanooga region. Seamless cooperation is required on behalf of all branches of government to achieve meaningful community progress. Through a strong partnership with the City Administration and community partners, the Council will be able to continue setting goals, benchmarks, and future plans to improve Chattanooga.

 

 

 

 

 


 


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