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For this year, public input will begin in March as the city crafts the budget, which will be adopted in June. Courtesy photo
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Carlsbad adopts new vision for goal-setting cycle

CARLSBAD — Traditionally the City Council sets its long-term goals in the early part of every year.

However, city staff recommended a new vision for the council’s goal-setting process, which was approved by the council and will begin this year. The council had rescinded a policy to allow for the new direction.

Jason Haber, assistant to the city manager, along with several others crafted the new direction to allow staff more time during the year to focus on the projects, rather than creating presentations and updates, and align with the city budget, which runs on the fiscal year every June 30 to July 1 the following year.

“There would be benefit as we develop work plans and identify resource needs, that could be incorporated into the budget development,” Haber said. “We are transitioning towards a system that is more relative and more relevant and reflective of how people really communicate today and how the city conducts business. We are calling that Connected Carlsbad.”

The new timeline includes the budget process, including public input in February and March, from January through May.

From June through August, more public input is taken, with goal setting in September and October and work plans crafted in November and December.

In addition, the council will meet every two years, instead of one, to reassess and perhaps set new goals.

For this year, public input will begin in March as the city crafts the budget, which will be adopted in June. From April through mid-August, the city will review priorities, values and community needs, which will include feedback from residents.

“I like the strategy to do it in a different order so that we’re actually more prepared for that goal setting,” Councilwoman Barbara Hamilton said. “If we are setting more longer term goals, and they’re not CIP (Capital Improvement Program) Projects, it gives us an opportunity to stretch it out for a two-year cycle. The year goes by very quickly when we are spending three to five months setting goals.”

The current long-term council goals are the coastline, mobility, a new city hall and civic center, the Village and Barrio and trenching the railroad tracks in the Village.

The council shifted its goal process to move to more long-term projects over three to five years.

As for the coastline, one goal was to work with California State Parks and legislators to execute a long-term coastline management agreement, Haber said.

The state parks department declined the city’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) and work with legislators has become inactive as no viable legislative solution has been identified.

Although state parks declined the MOU, Haber said the goal is still ongoing. State parks recommended focusing on district level partnerships.

“Staff from the city manager’s office has been participating … in monthly coordination meetings to look at very practical on the ground partnership and collaboration opportunities,” Haber said. “I think we’ve seen some really positive progress on that front.”

With mobility, the goal is to amend the Traffic Safety Commission to include advising the City Council on mobility and safety matters. Staff is set to present the commission work plan in April, while also reporting to the council twice every year, which includes a report on Jan. 15.

The new City Hall and civic center, meanwhile, is moving forward. A space analysis and scoping needs assessment is currently underway, which the council will hear in spring. The civic center site selection will be presented to the council during the summer.

The Village and Barrio goal is set on the master plan, which was approved last summer. A portion of the plan will go before the Coastal Commission this summer for approval.

The commission, though, may send the plan back with proposed modifications, which the council would then have to approve before it goes back to the Coastal Commission for final approval.

With trenching, the goal is to break ground by 2023 to lower the tracks throughout the Village either to Tamarack Avenue or to Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

An MOU with the San Diego Association of Governments and the North County Transit District will be presented in February as well as an alternatives analysis, which includes a 10 percent design option for the short- and long-trench solutions.