Polson Puts Together Strategic Plan to Outline Critical Projects

City officials presented the Polson Strategic Plan to nearly two-dozen citizens at a special hearing March 21

By Justin Franz

The mayor of Polson said the city’s new strategic plan will help the community on the south end of Flathead Lake better plan for its future.

On March 21, Mayor Heather Knutson and other city officials presented the Polson Strategic Plan to nearly two-dozen citizens at a special hearing. The plan was developed with the help of the Montana State University’s Local Government Center in February.

Knutson said she has wanted to put together a strategic plan for the last few years so the city’s officials and residents can be better prepared for what’s to come.

“One of the challenges that has risen to the top in the last few years is the need for a new wastewater treatment facility. Some of us think this issue sort of snuck up on us, but it hadn’t,” she said. “So I think a strategic plan will help future mayors and future city commissioners to know what projects are coming up. I think this is great for the commission, city staff and the citizens.”

She added, “It’s a good document to get everyone on the same page regarding the city’s needs.”

Mayor Knutson and City Manager Mark Shrives said it’s not clear what projects will be included in the plan at this point and that it would still need to be approved by the commission. They said the plan would address certain themes city officials want to improve, like infrastructure and customer service. Shrives said as city staff works on the 2017 budget over the next few months they will start to comprise a list of projects to be included.

“This will help us understand what direction our elected officials want to take us and the city,” Shrives said. “This gives us a framework for moving the city forward.”

Each project listed within the strategic document will include a strategy description, the resources required to complete it and an estimate of when it should be done.

Knutson said projects that could be included in the plan are a new emergency services facility and new city offices, along with the always-important road and sidewalk repairs.