Council committee begans strategic planning for Portage's future

2012-05-25T20:30:00Z Council committee begans strategic planning for Portage's futureBy Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | Times are tough financially for most municipalities.

But Portage Director of Public Works A.J. Monroe encouraged the City Council Strategic Planning Committee on Thursday not to get embroiled in the minutia of financial details when planning for Portage's future.

"Keep your head at the right height," he said. "We've always faced challenges. We've always figured it out and done well. We are going to get there."

Councilman Mark Oprisko, who chairs the committee, said it was time for the city to put together a long-term plan that would take four, five and up to 10 years into the future.

"It is incumbent upon our city to come up with a vision," he said, adding it should be jointly developed with staff and officials and shared with residents.

The first step in that planning process was learning about the city's past and present.

Monroe presented the committee, which also includes Councilmen John Cannon and Matt Scheuer, with a history of the city's development, brought them up to date on where some projects stand, and took a glimpse into the future of what the committee may have to deal with, including a pavement maintenance plan and animal control.

He also reviewed the city's 2009 comprehensive plan, gave an outline of what each Portage department is tackling and talked of the responsibilities and projects involving the Utility Services Department and Redevelopment Commission.

He also encouraged them, while thinking above the daily details, to be mindful of the fiscal impacts of any decisions they make.

Oprisko said the next step is to meet with individual departments to determine what their four- or five-year plans might be involving manpower, facilities and equipment needs. He suggested the committee set a series of meetings with each department beginning next month.

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