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Banisch: Our Long-Range Strategic Planning Initiative

Published Dec. 27, 2018

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I’d like to talk about the long-range strategic planning initiative that the Board Of Selectmen has embarked upon. While the town has made progress in the past few years in terms of long-term financial/capital planning with the capital improvement program, and we continue to regularly update the Plan of Conservation and Development, there hasn’t been any other substantive long-term planning relating to the town. While I have no prior experience developing a 10-year strategic plan, others on the board do, and we brought in a consultant to help us run the process.

There has been a lot of talk and even criticism by some over the past few months about the process that we are employing. I think it’s important that we get past the short-term criticism to look at what we are trying to accomplish in the long term.

We have already had several sessions where members of the public, employees of the town, and town officials have had the opportunity to provide input to the planners. As a result, we will have a draft plan delivered in January, which will be discussed and modified according to public input.

Among other things, we will be incorporating into the plan Academy and Island Avenue schools, the Plan of Conservation and Development, and school and town capital needs to present a complete picture in June.

What we don’t want to do is to present the town with a spending plan for the schools, and then later a spending plan for the town. We need taxpayers and residents to see the whole package so that they can make informed decisions based on their own priorities.

As appears to be the case with new initiatives in Madison, the first thing we met with was resistance. If we let that stop us, we will never begin the process of long-term planning, something that is greatly needed in our town. Please get involved in the process and help us to create a plan that is truly meaningful for our town and for our future.

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