City council approves “Our Issaquah” strategic plan

The city council unanimously approved the “Our Issaquah” strategic plan at their May 6 meeting.

A unified vision for the future of the city was approved by the Issaquah City Council at its May 6 meeting. “Our Issaquah” — the city’s strategic plan — was approved in a unanimous vote.

The plan will set goals the city wants to achieve and set guidelines for budget allocations to accomplish those goals. “Our Issaquah” is broken into six elements: growth and development, mobility, social and economic vitality, environmental stewardship, infrastructures, and city leadership and services.

The process to craft the plan began more than a year ago and has been heavily informed through public comment collected during that time. Sustainability director David Fujimoto said over of the course of plan development the city collected more than 1,650 responses from community members about their priorities for the plan. Most recently, a survey was held in March that gave citizens the opportunity to comment on the draft version.

Fujimoto said the strategic plan outlines individual visions, missions, guiding principles and objects for each of the six priority areas. Measures of success are also outlined individually for each of the priorities so the city can judge its progress toward the goals.

In discussion, each of the councilmembers voiced their support for the plan and gave thanks to the residents of Issaquah for being a part of the data collection process. Councilmember Paul Winterstein was glad to have the plan going forward as no official similar framework previously existed with which to work from.

“There is going to be a lot of work in discussing and deciding upon what order and how to prioritize and how to maybe bring new things in we didn’t consider and what not to do,” he said. “Previously we didn’t have a framework in which to work in, so I’m glad to have gotten to this point.”

The idea of the plan as a “living document” was also brought by Councilmember Victoria Hunt, who said the city might not be able to accomplish everything on the plan within the time frame, but the plan itself exists as a work in progress that will update and change.

Councilmember Stacy Goodman was supportive, but did voice come concerns about the level of detail in the plan.

“I have a couple of concerns, one is that it’s very broad. I think we should have done a better job of being more disciplined about making this a narrower plan,” she said. “The second concern is related to that — that is, I am hoping this doesn’t become an annual defacto goal setting, which is what we used to do a few years ago.”

While Councilmember Lindsey Walsh was only recently appointed to the previously open council seat, she was supportive of the plan and asked the citizens to use the plan as a way to measure the success of the city and council.

“Thank you, and please use this to hold us accountable,” Walsh said. “We heard the community’s input and condensed it down into a strategic plan that we are then going to use for policy making and budgeting going forward and also performance measures to measure our effectiveness of that. Please, hold us accountable… We want to make the community proud with our use of this document and calling the community to continue to be involved in that is essential for us making that a reality.”

For the next steps, the city plans to hold a strategic plan and budget special council meeting in June where they will look at potential actions and how those line up with goals for 2020.