A large handful of citizens showed at noon Thursday for the first of four open houses on Carson City’s strategic planning, but the second session after work attracted just a small handful.
Those attending, however, weren’t shy about letting their opinions be known. Some challenged goals, priorities and strategies while others wanted to fine tune the city’s mission statement. Riley Kerr, a semi-retired security supervisor for a local business, was at the mid-day Fuji Park exhibit hall open house forum to recommend the latter.
“To preserve and enhance the quality of life and heritage of Carson City,” he said, should be changed to add terminology calling for preserving and enhancing an “affordable quality of life” for this and future generations of residents, workers and visitors.
Jim Shaw, who retired here in 2008 from Austin, Texas, didn’t ask questions after a presentation but sat quietly filling out a questionnaire and providing his take on a downtown Carson Street makeover project that will remove the median, widen sidewalks, add bicycle lanes and cut the number of car traffic lanes from four to three. He told a reporter that over the years Austin has been ruined and he feared Carson City would be as well.
“I can’t believe that they’re going to tear it all up,” he said, focusing on the downtown project and particularly bemoaning loss of the planted median.
“Don’t fix what isn’t broken,” he said.
Earlier, Finance Director Nick Providenti was asked after a brief presentation on the plan to give his take on city government’s tax revenue outlook. He said property tax revenues still are climbing out of a hole created by lowered assessed valuation during the housing price implosion of the recession. Things are improving, Providenti said, yet he still expressed concern it’s going to take years to recoup.
“It’s good but not great,” he said.
He also was asked how this year’s strategic plan differs from the one followed last year. He said it has been several years since the last city strategic plan was put together and one difference was the last one didn’t include public input from such open house sessions.
Another exchange between Providenti and a citizen prompted her to point out residents mainly want local government to be effective in helping them build a better life and surmount problems. She said people don’t necessarily take notice until something goes wrong. “What people notice is the failures of ineffective government,” said Margaret Mellow.
Some on hand for the noon open house thought the mission statement was fine, but challenged the goals or strategies to reach them. Providenti said the goals and strategies listed on easel boards weren’t in any particular order, nor were they on a website survey either. “They’re all equally important to us,” he said.
Michael Salogga, city business resources manager, was to have provided Thursday’s evening presentation but so few showed in the first 90 minutes he and other city staff just chatted with residents about the plan. He said the final two sessions on Monday, also beginning at noon and 5 p.m., should attract more citizens because they are at the more centrally located Community Center’s Sierra Room, which is at 851 E. William St.