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  • Doug Smith

Community Visioning (update two)

At the February council retreat, we established one of our highest priorities as the community visioning process and outreach. Since then, council has been working efficiently to begin this outreach sometime this Summer.

This article is meant to provide some back-the-scenes context to what we have accomplished since the retreat. To learn more about the purpose of the visioning process, please visit the city website here.

In February, we “kicked off” the process, indicating its importance, by passing a resolution. We drafted and approved a mission statement and some basic parameters of what we want to accomplish with the visioning process.

I was appointed by council to collect feedback from each council members and draft several options for what the visioning process could look like. I personally spent many hours drafting and revising the process parameters, the role of the visioning committee, the committee’s job description, and other guidance documents.

With council’s unanimous approval, we finalized a committee structure in March, and sent the job description to residents. The committee will be comprised of 13 members; six members chosen by council as a whole, and seven members chosen by council members individually (one member for each council person).

We received 54 applicants from across the city, and narrowed the list to interview 10. We spent 20 minutes with each interviewee and are in the final stages of selecting the committee (should be complete by mid-June).

Meanwhile, we drafted and publicly announced a RFQ for facilitators. The facilitator will be responsible for helping the committee navigated the technical components of visioning outreach, including surveying and collecting data from residents.

Council received 10 proposals from reputable community engagement firms. We created a sub-committee to narrow the search to four firms. We have invited the four firms to interview with council to vet the proposals in more detail. The interviews will be completed by mid-June and council should have a selection by July.

I am confident that the visioning process will begin in July. I suspect the committee and the facilitator will meet to determine the next steps. Keep in mind this process will largely be decided by the committee.

My personal hope is the committee will determine ways to engage with at least 80 percent of Worthington’s residents in a meaningful way. I would like to know how residents feel about Worthington, and what they desire Worthington to be in the future.

I believe there needs to be a strong educational outreach portion at the front of this process. For example, it is important for residents to know that 75 percent of the city’s operating budget comes from income taxes. It’s equally important for residents to know that only 4 percent of property tax goes to the city, comprising 5 percent of the city’s budget.

Having informed and educated residents, prior to collecting data, is crucial to ensuring significant and trusted results.

I am excited that we are moving forward with this process. If you wish to help in some way, or if you have thoughts about the process, please let me know and I will be sure to keep you informed and involved.

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