The City Council received an update on the Strategic Plan as of the end of second quarter at their Sept. 7, 2016 meeting.

  • Reforming Organizational Culture
    • Strategy #1: Training and Travel Committee (Tuition Reimbursement): the training and travel committee is in the process of being developed; training dollars were increased in the proposed 2017 budget.
    • Strategy #2: Evaluate Benefits for 2017 Budget: the proposed 2017 budget includes an increase in the city contribution to employees' health savings accounts (HSA) and includes having city contributions deposited twice a year (instead of four times per year) so  employees would have more funding in their HSA earlier in the year.
    • Strategy #3: Health and Wellness Committee: the Wellness Committee submitted a budget request of $2,500 for FY2017 and has sponsored several challenges and events including a walking challenge in June, a park cleanup day in August, and a veggie challenge during September.
    • Strategy #4: Emphasize Career Path Options During Annual Reviews: completed
    • Strategy #5: Compensation Plan for 2018: the RFP has been developed and will be finalized once the preliminary levy is adopted in September; Administration department included a budget add of $25,000 for the 2017 budget for the compensation study.
    • Strategy #6: 2017 Budget for 3 Firefighters/Paramedics: Public Safety staff included a budget add for three firefighters/paramedics in the 2017 budget to help with the anticipated 5 to 10 percent call increase per year due to expected growth. (These positions are dependent on the final 2017 budget to be adopted in December.)
    • Strategy #7: Employee Survey: During the summer, an employee survey was distributed to staff with 99 employees completing the survey; overall response and feedback indicate that most employees agree that the City is a good employer; with the survey results, the City now has more defined direction to continue reforming organizational culture.
  • Make Cottage Grove a Recreation Destination
    • Strategy #1: Park Improvement Plan; no action at this time
    • Strategy #2: River Oaks Business Plan: Council adopted the final business plan and authorized necessary budget adjustments in anticipation of an Oct. 1, 2016 launch of the new Eagles Bar and Grill.
    • Strategy #3: Create Mississippi River Access: 1) River Oaks scenic overlook park design: Due to the small scope of the project, staff worked with the Parks Commission to design a Master Plan rather than utilizing a consulting firm; staff is also working with Friends of the Mississippi River as a resource for a natural resources management plan. 2) Boat Launch on Mississippi River; staff had a phone conversation with the Gibson Family about reacquiring access to the former boat launch site. Although the owners seem open to the idea of selling, they are deferring discussion until they meet with the City on future land development issues regarding the island.
  • Engaging the Community and Forming the Vision
    • Strategy #1: Hire Facilitator for Community Engagement: NEXT Generation Consulting was hired to facilitate the project; plans are underway for a kick-off meeting, town hall meetings and focus groups; Steering Committee members were appointed at the Sept. 7 meeting.
    •  Strategy #2: Develop Communications Plan: the community engagement project is being promoted through the City website, newsletter, social media, press releases and videos with SWCTC; a community engagement section on the website is being developed.
    • Strategy #3: Develop Engagement Strategies/Gather Community Input: "One Wish" chalkboards, social media campaigns, online surveys, town halls, and focus groups will be used to engage with the community.
    • Strategy #4: Develop Community Plan: no action at this time.
  • Positioning for Growth
    • Strategy #1: Hire ED Director: the BR&E agreement was signed and sent to the University of Minnesota for approval; in September, Economic Development staff will begin the online prep class for the BR&E process.
    • Strategy #2: Develop Successful Business Park Plan: more than 20 acres in the business park are graded and going through the DEED Shovel Ready Certification and Xcel Energy's Site Certification Program. Cottage Grove's business park will be one of only 10-12 sites Xcel will market to large energy users; the EDA and Council approved revisions to the EDA bylaws and enabling resolution in order to comply with State Statute; Economic Development staff conducted an Urban Land Institute: Navigating Your Competitive Future Workshop to gain feedback into the marketability of Cottage Grove from professionals in the private sector; staff continues to work with Washington County to finalize the BRT stations.
      • Continuing Action Steps: Stantec will help update the Comprehensive Plan, through which the boundaries of the business park will be reviewed; a plan was drafted for the expedited review of development project proposals providing a consistent point of contact throughout the development process; business subsidy policies continue to be reviewed with recommendations going to the EDA in September; City ordinances requiring Class I building materials in Industrial zoning are being reviewed. 
    • Strategy #3: Space Needs Study for PW & Parks: a meeting was held with consultant, Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. (SEH), to discuss the overall proposal and cost with a cost estimate expected soon; equipment, storage, and staffing needs related to future growth and a full build out continue to be evaluated.
    • Strategy #4: Conference with Developers, Real Estate Brokers, and Land Owners: approval was received from the Department of Commerce for three continuing education credits for the City's Realtor Forum, scheduled for Oct. 6.
      • Continuing Actions Steps: the effectiveness of continuing with a Business Appreciation Event such as a golf tournament or River Boat Cruise is being evaluated.
    • Strategy #5: Finalize RRCC BRT Stations: BRT Station Plans will be sent out to the RRC Technical Advisory Committee with public comment on the draft of the final plan in September.

For more information on any of the Cottage Grove strategic directions, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 651-458-2800.

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