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James City County officials and community stakeholders are prioritizing the list of actions they will take to achieve the seven goals identified through the strategic planning process.
During a meeting Tuesday afternoon with Leigh Anne King, a principal and planner with Clarion Associates, the firm guiding the county through its strategic planning process, members of the JCC Board of Supervisors reviewed a list of 16 capital projects to be addressed in the “short-term,” which would be between July 2021 and December 2026.
These projects did not include items that were already funded for Fiscal Year 2017 or projects planned through Fiscal Year 2021.
The board also reviewed 42 operational initiatives, or community studies, services, programs or collaborative efforts for the county, for fiscal years 2017 through 2022.
Before the lists were presented to the board, each item was vetted by members of the Strategic Planning Advisory Group, which consists of community leaders, and the Technical Advisory Group, which includes county staff.
Capital projects the groups prioritized included land purchases for future schools and JCC facilities, the proposed Skiffes Creek Connector and new fire safety vehicles and equipment. Operational initiatives included evaluating alternatives for a long-term water supply, planning for land needs and developing a plan for a multi-use venue for arts, sports and education.
Before board members ranked the items on their own, they sought specificity from King as to how they should evaluate each priority.
Supervisor Ruth Larson (Berkeley) said she considered priorities like outdoor pool resurfacing to be facility maintenance concerns that should not compete with new infrastructure projects like the Skiffes Creek Connector.
“Having them mixed like this is really tough,” Larson said. “We might be able to get some of the low hanging fruit a little bit faster than the Skiffes Creek Connector.”
County Administrator Bryan Hill said facility maintenance would not fall off the list if it is not prioritized in the strategic plan.
“If it’s a day-to-day thing that needs to be fixed, we’ll fix it,” Hill said.
Supervisor Kevin Onizuk (Jamestown) raised a similar concern from a different angle, seeing the lists as a mix of “wants” and “needs.”
“That makes it tough for us because there are some things we really want and some we really need,” Onizuk said.
Chairman Michael Hipple (Powhatan) encouraged the five-member board to consider each item on its face and look beyond the technicalities.
“What do you see, without getting too deep in the weeds, are things we need to do to start putting our goals in front of us about what we’re going to be and what we’re going to do?” Hipple said.
Hill said the board’s input will help lay the groundwork for accomplishing the county’s strategic goals.
“Once you put down the asphalt, we’ll drive the car,” he said.
Vice chairman John McGlennon (Roberts) said he needs to consider the principles motivating the priorities and said, at this point, he does not want to “say where the asphalt goes.”
“I want to say, ‘Where are we trying to get?’ That will help me better understand where that asphalt is supposed to go,” McGlennon said.
The lists will be further refined based on feedback from the board and the county will finalize the list based on its revenue projections.
For more information about the strategic planning process, visit http://jccstrategy2035.org/.