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Albemarle working on implementing city’s first strategic plan

Albemarle is working towards creating the city’s first strategic plan that would serve as a blueprint for how it plans to achieve its goals and priorities in the future.

Over the past few years, the city has taken several steps towards building a foundation for such a plan, including working with the Centralina Regional Council (formerly the Centralina Council of Governments) to help streamline its budget process, establishing council priorities/goals and implementing a community survey.

The city council recently approved Albemarle’s first strategic framework which includes detailed vision and mission statements along with council values (ethics, leadership and vision) and several priorities, including safety and security, infrastructure and community and economic development. The framework can be accessed on the city’s new website.

Centralina pulled together key data from the community survey, completed late last year, which played a role in the establishment of the strategic framework, Assistant City Manager Nyki Hardy said. While Albemarle was given high marks as a place to live and raise a family, it scored lower when it came to questions about the city’s business environment. 

“How we came to this is directly from the community through the community survey,” Hardy said. “Between council and the city manager and the leadership team, we took that information and got it to the point where we had the draft” that the council approved.

“It wasn’t something that was done in a vacuum,” she added. “A lot of different people were involved to really reflect what the community wants to see in terms of where Albemarle goes.”

The city is working on a phased-in approach in developing the strategic plan and the goal is to have it completed by the end of the 2021-2022 fiscal year next summer, Hardy said.

Having already identified priorities in the strategic framework, the actual plan would focus on creating specific, tangible objectives to actually realize those priorities, Hardy said. This would include coming up with performance metrics that would measure how successfully the city is meeting its goals.

City staff is working with Centralina on a multi-year contract to have it support the city’s strategic plan development.

Though many cities in the region already have established strategic plans in place, Hardy said she’s not aware of any municipalities in the county that have implemented ones.

The strategic plan will also feature input from each of the city’s departments.

“It’s an enterprise-level plan, all of your different departments should be able to see themselves within the strategic plan,” Hardy said, noting each of the department’s individualized work plans should have goals that are in line with what will be laid out in the strategic plan.

But even the most detailed plans are only useful when communities actually follow through with them and work to achieve the goals.

“We definitely want to make sure that we implement this plan and that it’s not something that just sits on the shelf,” Hardy said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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