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Harriman makes plans for the future with strategic plan

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By Richard Evans

The Harriman City Council adopted a new strategic plan last Tuesday.

“The strategic plan allows you the opportunity to come together as a group and take a look at the strengths within your community, which you can build upon,” said City Manager Kevin Helms.

“It also gives you an opportunity to look at where you may be lacking and be able to focus on those areas.”

Having all the players together is a vital part of the planning meeting.

“It’s important because it gets all of the policy-makers, the mayor and the city council, together in an in-depth discussion and builds a level of consensus as to the direction of the city,” he said.

“I think it’s a good plan we put down. Hopefully, we should be able to accomplish a lot,” said Councilman Tim Johnson.

Mayor Wayne Best noted that the strategic plans for the last two years are posted on the wall in the council chambers at city hall, complete with the current status of each objective.

Harriman City Council will occassionally discuss the items on the plan and ways to move forward.

“If not the next meeting, the first meeting in April, we’ll have the new plan posted. It keeps us accountable. We can look at it and it reminds us of what we’re supposed to be doing,” Best said.

Details of the plan were discussed and reviewed during the city’s strategic planning retreat on Feb. 22-23.

They also took a look at the 2017 strategic planning session and the goals that have been completed or started following that meeting.

Among the 2017 -2018 goal statements and current status are:

• Beautification of interstate exchange (Ongoing)

• Public Safety reorganization (Complete)

• Upgrade/maintenance of recreation facilities (Ongoing)

• Feasibility study of old hospital building (Complete)

• Papermill site clean up (Ongoing)

• More recreation opportunities for seniors (Some activities implemented, while overall program development ongoing)

• Lighting enhancements at exit 347 (Ongoing)

• Resolve library flooding issue (Two major issues resolved with one minor issue ongoing)

• Improve overall employee compensation program (Action taken, but ongoing effort)

• Phase 2 – street maintenance (No Action)

• Improve appearance of central business district (Some items implemented while others ongoing)

• Develop long-term five-year capital budget (Ongoing)

Helms said one of the major components of the plan is to develop a budget because the plan can only be implemented in so far as the city can fund each project.

He noted that if a project has a status of no action it usually means it is not feasible at this time.

For example, the cost to pave every city street is roughly $12 million.

“Fortunately, we’ve already tackled a portion of those but we’re still looking at doing more in the future as we can afford it,” Helms said.

The plan also calls for the city to continue:

• Cleanup of housing areas (Ongoing effort)

• Maintain property taxes at a level (flat) rate (Complete)

• Keep the Emory Golf Course open (Complete, but ongoing effort regarding operational improvements)

• Continue to support community-organized events (Ongoing)

• Continue to operate within budget (Complete)

• Focus on downtown (revitalization) (Ongoing with projects in construction and planning stages)

• Continue support and participation with the Roane Alliance (Ongoing)