For the past 15 months, Palm Beach’s Strategic Planning Board has worked on developing a new long-range plan for the town.
At its meeting May 9, the Town Council approved a number of its recommendations.
In a unanimous vote, council members agreed to accept the board’s recommended mission and vision statements, critical success factors, strategic focus areas, and strategic priorities as the framework of a new five-year strategic plan to be incorporated into fiscal year 2024 budget planning.
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Approval of these statements and priorities followed a presentation to the council last month by Trainnovations Consulting, which shared a summary of the board’s work.
The board’s recommendations to the town include:
- Vision statement: “The Town of Palm Beach will promote an exceptional quality of life for current and future generations. We take pride in our small town, honoring our heritage as a unique legacy worth keeping, while creatively managing future challenges.”
- Mission statement: “The Town of Palm Beach provides unparalleled services to residents, businesses, and visitors. Through leadership and community engagement, the town will promote its gracious community character and culture; ensure a safe and secure town; respect its history and architecture; and conserve the health of its environment.”
- Strategic priorities: Community culture and character; environmental stewardship; mobility and transportation; safe and resilient community; and governmental leadership and innovation.
- Critical success factors: Quality of life; collaborative town government; preserve community, culture and character; proactive management of environmental threats; sound fiscal management; safe, clean, on-demand drinking water; and preservation of the town’s historical commercial districts and businesses.
Strategic focus areas recommended by the board include those related to traffic, parking, natural and manmade disasters, home rule, preservation, environmental protection, and drinking water management.
“I’d like to the thank the entire board for its work,” Mayor Danielle Moore said after the council approved its recommendations.
The new strategic plan replaces the one completed in 2003 and updated in 2012. It provides basic policy direction to all functions and operations of government regarding the town’s social, economic and physical development.
The town began weighing development of a new long-range plan in an effort to address concerns about growth, particularly on the island’s North End, where older homes are being replaced with larger ones that are maxing out their lot sizes and changing the character of the surrounding neighborhoods.
“We are at an inflection point,” council member Lew Crampton said in late 2021. “Things were going along a certain way until about two years ago, and then we were hit with a tremendous amount of growth. A lot of the assumptions we had about the town, including its demographic, including how busy we are, and a whole host of things, have changed.”
Moore volunteered to lead the effort to write a new strategic plan that would be based on the model from 2003, which was developed under the guidance of her mother, then-Mayor Lesly Smith.
Then, Smith chaired a five-member Strategic Planning Board commissioned by the council to develop a long-range plan for the town. An eight-member board was appointed in December 2021 to write a new version, and it wrapped up its work last month.
Members included: Alfred “Skip” Aldridge, Elizabeth Dowdle, Kristen Kelly Fisher, Peter McKelvy, Nicki McDonald, Katherine Ostberg, Michael Pucillo and Michael Reiter.
While the board worked to develop a long-range plan for the town, town staff met to align current and future operations and capital projects with the designated strategic focus areas, said Carolyn Stone, the town’s deputy town manager for business enterprise and culture.
Moving forward, town staff will build an actionable strategic plan that supports the Town Council’s direction, Stone said, and will work to coordinate budget requests to carry out objectives and action items.
During the town’s annual budget process, Stone said, town staff will present the strategic focus areas to the Town Council to determine whether the objectives and action items still capture the overall strategies that the town needs to focus on for the coming year.
Staff would then update anything in need of adjustment as part of the annual budget process.
“We will be checking in with the council annually to say, ‘Is this still an area that you want us to focus on?’ she said.
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