The City Council received an update on the progress of the Strategic Plan at their August 9, 2017, meeting.  City staff continues to utilize the four strategic directions to guide our efforts and this report is a snapshot of progress to date. The 2018 budget process incorporated these initiatives. We will continue to provide quarterly updates to the Mayor and Council. If there are any questions, please contact the City Administrator.

Positioning for Growth

 Strategy #1: Develop a Technology Strategy for Delivering Online Services

  • City Council approved the purchase and implementation of the EnerGove Software for building permits, licensing, and regulatory management at the Feb. 21, 2018 Council meeting.
  • This strategy is now complete.

Strategy #2: Develop a Comprehensive Business Subsidy Policy

  • This strategy was completed when the Council adopted the Business Subsidy Policy on July 19, 2017.

Strategy #3: Collect Data on Business Transportation Needs

  • Staff is exploring the circulator programs run by West St. Paul, Eden Prairie, and Bloomington while engaging with the businesses that completed the Business Retention and Expansion survey to determine their needs for transit and their willingness to pay for the service.
  • Staff is researching the potential of using an autonomous vehicle service and has applied for MnDOT’s pilot program.

Strategy #4: Collaborate with Washington County on the Redevelopment and Planning for the Library Site

  • The library is still studying space needs and hope to have an estimate of space needs by mid-March. 
  • The county is holding three pre-design open houses in March, April, and May.

Stratgy #5: Propose Zoning Changes per the Comprehensive Plan for Desired Growth

  • Comments from the public comment period on the Business Park AUAR were incorporated into the final AUAR and submitted to Environmental Quality Board (EQB) monitor for publication.  Council approved the AUAR in January 2018. 
  • The Planning Commission, Comprehensive Plan Update Steering Committee, and the Housing Focus Group from the My Future Cottage Grove project met on Feb. 26 to discuss the comprehensive plan’s housing section.  Their comments and suggestions will be incorporated into the comprehensive plan.

Strategy #6: Utilize the Business Retention and Expansion Data to Develop Partnership

  • Staff has been working on the strategies from the BR&E results:
    • Chamber Connection-Staff is working with the Chamber to implement a lodging tax to assist in the promotion of area businesses and the community. Economic Development staff are members of the Chamber Ambassadors and Events committees.
    • Broadband-The community internet survey is complete and was presented to the EDA and Council in February 2018. Staff met with CenturyLink to share the results. The engineering division held the annual utility meeting to update all utility providers on all projects in the community.
    • Workforce-Staff reached out to the school district, two of the City's largest employers in the community, and other communities that have been successful in implementing programs between employers and the school district to explore partnerships to help develop Cottage Grove’s workforce.
    • Code Enforcement-A video and brochure on temporary signage are being completed for early Spring 2018.

Reforming Organizational Culture

Strategy #1: Review and Update the Performance Evaluation System

  • This strategy was completed in April 2017. 

Strategy #2: Develop a Mentorship Program for New Employees

  • A peer mentor program has been created for non-public Safety employees. It will be implemented with the next non-public safety new hire.

Strategy #3: Develop Recruitment, Retention and Transition Plans

  • The first cohort of 16 people in the Management and Leadership Academy graduated in December. Staff has developed a new Learning to Lead Academy and it kicked off in January with 16 members.
  • The Employee Engagement committee is developing a “pop-up” event series for employees to learn about new or unique projects in other departments.
  • The City created a video series called “City Faces,” which features individuals who work for the City, showcasing them both in their job and outside of the organization. This helps employees learn more about other employees while also breaking down barriers and building trust between the community and the City.
  • Staff has reached out to other cities to find out what they do for transition plans. Not many other cities have transition plans as many are just starting to determine succession needs and create transition plans.

Strategy #4: Budget for a Public Works and Parks Facility Space Needs Study

  • The kickoff meeting for the space needs study was Mar. 1. Staff is now gathering information about the City's facilities and equipment for the engineers.

Make Cottage Grove a Recreation Destination

Strategy #1: Plan and Implement Projects with Park Improvement Plan

  • This strategy is complete.

Strategy #2: Complete River Oaks Golf Course and Event Center Improvements

  • This strategy is complete.

Strategy #3: Create Mississippi River Access

  • Parks and Recreation staff met with Washington County to discuss partnership opportunities for river access.  Staff continues to study opportunities on public land for small vessels.

Strategy #4: Natural Resources Master Plan for Settler's Island

  • One of the initiatives from the My Future Cottage Grove report is to “ambitiously program Joseph La Bath Settler’s Island and the adjacent (non-island) greenspace for all ages.”  The Settler's Island/Mississippi River Access Citizen Task Force had their first meeting in February and began brainstorming ways to improve opportunities for residents to experience the Mississippi River.  These ideas will continue to be refined with a goal of promoting one or two new programs/events in 2018.
  • The natural resources plan and report from the Friends of the Mississippi River is expected to be complete in February of 2018. 

Strategy #5: Establish Community Center Task Force

  • 18 volunteers were appointed to serve on the Community Center Task Force.  They held their first meeting on January 8 and are currently working on identifying needs of the community and how a community center would serve those needs.

Engaging the Community and Forming the Vision

Strategy #1: Review and Refine Communications Plan

  • The Communications Plan will be updated during the summer by the administrative intern.

Strategy #2: Implement New Communications Strategies

  • The 2018 State of the City was streamed via Facebook Live.  It had 23 peak live viewers and reached 4,165 people with 68 post engagement. 
  • Communications staff is also working with departments to find ways to use Facebook Live to show "behind the scenes" at City Hall.

Strategy #3: Analyze Data from My Future Cottage Grove Project

  • Volunteer groups for the initiatives have started meeting and working on the recommendations from the My Future Cottage Grove report. 

Strategy #4: Analyze Data from BR&E Study to Create Messaging to Business Community

  • ED staff, Code Enforcement, and Communications staff are working on more code enforcement videos with the goal of producing one per quarter.

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