City approves and posts its most recent goal setting report

Marlys BarkerNevada
Journal Editor

The most recent Goal Setting Report for the city of Nevada was recently approved and made public on the city’s website.

City Administrator Elizabeth Hansen said the report is released every two years and involves the input of the city’s department directors, along with input from the mayor and council’s strategic planning and goal setting retreat, which was held this year on April 4 at the Senior Center in Nevada.

“At the conclusion of the retreat, a report is produced, including the past two years of accomplishments, issues, threats and opportunities,” Hansen said. She said it includes a list of ongoing initiatives and a list of new initiatives as well.

Once the City Council approves the report officially, it is posted for the public.

Approving the report, Hansen explains, allows the council to set a “clear road map or direction” for staff. And, she adds, “It’s a great communication tool for the public to see what and why the city is working on certain projects or improvements.”

The top five city initiatives for the next two years, as the report highlights, are as follows:

1) Airport Road and Lincoln Highway Improvements

2) Recreation Center Implementation - Conceptual Design, Capital Campaign

3) Billy Sunday Field - Flooding, Lighting and Future

4) Avoid Property Tax Levy Increase - prefer to lower

5) Increase Street Repair Funding

In the upcoming 24 months, the first two listed will take center stage.

Hansen said Airport Road and Lincoln Highway improvements are already being looked into. “HR Green is assisting the city with looking into grants that help subsidize the cost of improvements at Airport Road and Lincoln Highway,” she said.

That corner has been a focal point of recent Highway 30 improvements and discussions as well, with citizens concerned about more traffic there in the future.

In the major accomplishments portion of the report, the U.S. 30 improvements at Nevada making it into the DOT’s five-year plan were listed as a major accomplishment, despite the plan being later rejected.

Now, Hansen said the city will prepare to try to reach that accomplishment again. “The process for [getting into the DOT’s five-year plan] will still be similar moving forward,” she said. “The city establishes goals and direction for administration. City representatives meet with city engineers, city of Ames and Iowa DOT staff to discuss the corridor and concerns for the future development. Once a final plan or a couple plans are ready, several public hearings are conducted. City Council considers the options, approves a plan and commits funds.”

Hansen said the DOT will also conduct public hearings, and once the City Council has approved a new U.S. 30 concept and committed funds, the administration will present that concept to the Iowa DOT Commission, with hopefully help from the mayor, city engineer and NEDC director. “This process,” she said, “occurred each year (in the past) until it was programmed.”

“Over the years, the mayor, NEDC executive director, a City Council member and administrator have visited Washington, D.C., to lobby support for improvements. Also Iowa DOT commissioners were invited to visit the area, as well as the Iowa DOT director,” she said, noting that one DOT commissioner was at the City Council meeting when the 2013 plan was approved by council.

“Moving forward, it will be important to have a consensus and support from the cities affected, the county, NEDC and Iowa DOT staff,” Hansen said. “It will likely take a similar amount of time and collaboration.” Hansen said the city assumes the previous commitment of $1.5 million to the project will not be enough to garner support of the Iowa DOT commission in the future. “Soon,” she said, “the Iowa DOT staff will advise the city and county what they think will be a reasonable required financial match.”

After attending several months of task force meetings about the U.S. 30 project recently, Hansen said she can safely say that improving safety at S-14 is everyone’s priority.

As for priority number two, the Recreation Center, Hansen said the recreation task force has sent out a request for qualifications and proposal to firms that can help with studying, planning, a conceptual design and estimated costs for this facility. “Those are due back in May and will likely be presented to the City Council and Story County Medical Center in June,” she said.

In looking at the list of major accomplishments, Hansen was asked which of those she thinks residents can be most pleased about.

“Probably all of the street repairs, fire station upgrades, hiring a community service officer (animal control) and the City Hall Campus Project, since they are the most visible improvements.”