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updated: 11/14/2012 11:01 PM

Elgin moves ahead with strategic planning process

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The Elgin City Council approved the latest progress on a five-year strategic plan that has been in the works for more than a year.

City Manager Sean Stegall presented three objectives for each of the seven priority areas council members officially adopted in May and included sample strategies for achieving those objectives during the city council meeting Wednesday.

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The strategies will be refined and expanded upon in coming weeks for further approval.

Stegall said the city has never before had such a comprehensive strategic plan, which will allow the council to create ongoing policy and provide benchmarks for measuring success.

"It forces focus on all of us," Stegall said.

Once it is in place, council members and city staff members will have to show how any new initiatives relate to reaching the goals laid out in the strategic plan.

The seven priority areas are public safety, economic development, downtown, image and engagement, neighborhoods, diverse workforce, and education.

While Stegall said the objectives were difficult to develop for education because the city does not provide it directly, Councilman Robert Gilliam said the city must work closely with the leaders of Elgin Area School District U-46, Elgin Community College and Judson University.

"We need to be collaborative with the education institutions, because I think we're all in this together," Gilliam said.

Councilwoman Tish Powell recommended adding workforce development to the education priority, which Stegall said would make it easier to create strategies and show progress.

The city council will formally create the strategic plan advisory commission at its Nov. 28 meeting and appoint its members Dec. 5. Stegall said the group of applicants represents Elgin's full diversity, and it will be narrowed down to a commission of 10 to 15 people who are expected to serve for the life of the plan.

Gerald Gabris, a Northern Illinois University professor of public administration, has been a consultant for the strategic planning process all along and will be retained as a facilitator for the commission next year.

Details of the strategic plan are available at cityofelgin.org/budget.

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