Council sets priorities for next two years |

Council sets priorities for next two years

Adam Jensen

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – “It’s the economy, stupid,” was a phrase coined by Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist James Carville during the Arkansas governor’s 1992 presidential campaign.

But the pithy reminder may have been taken to heart by the newly-seated South Lake Tahoe City Council.

The council selected economic development, fiscal sustainability, improving the built environment, gaining public trust and developing partnerships with surrounding agencies as its top five priorities for the next two years during a strategic planning workshop Tuesday afternoon.

Each of the concepts were identified by city residents as priorities in a recently completed survey.

And many are in line with the trio of new council members’ campaign promises, said Councilman Tom Davis.

“I just want to stay focused on some small goals that are achievable,” Davis added.

The strategic plan does not include details about how the council will accomplish the priorities, but the plan is expected to keep the council focused on what matters.

“It really gives us this tool to measure ‘is this really where we want to be spending our time?'” said Councilwoman Angela Swanson.

Councilwoman Claire Fortier agreed, while acknowledging the council is “not even close to planning” specific measures on how to implement the priorities.

“We need to get to the next step,” Fortier said.

In coming weeks, City Manager Tony O’Rourke is expected to develop a business plan spelling out how the council can make progress on the priorities,

O’Rourke said he was “delighted with the process and looks forward to delivering a plan of action with identifiable results to be measured for the community and the City Council,” in a Wednesday statement.

The priorities are also expected to guide upcoming budget discussions.

“What we did yesterday is critical because, in February, we’re going to be looking at budget reductions,” Swanson said.

Mayor Hal Cole and Councilman Bruce Grego said they share the same concerns as residents and that none of the priorities picked by the council were unexpected.

“I don’t think there’s any surprises, it’s just how we implement them,” Cole said.

“We know what needs to be done,” Cole added. “We just don’t know how we’re going to pay for it.”

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