Maps are vital when you’re taking a road trip, and whether you keep a ragged, worn atlas in your vehicle or have updated to a smart phone, maps are a necessity. The Town of Oro Valley’s primary map is the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan, which is a 10-year plan that was approved by voters in 2016.
Created with extensive input from Oro Valley residents, this document is the foundation for how Oro Valley envisioned the next decade. Well-managed, quality living, friendly, public safety, sense of community and scenic are among the many words and phrases residents used to describe Oro Valley’s vision for the future.
Within the framework of the general plan the Town Council establishes the town’s course during their tenure by setting policy and priorities and then relying on staff to make it all happen. This is done largely through strategic planning and the town’s budget process. Think of the General Plan as the map for the road trip; the destination is clear. The strategic planning and budget process are the itinerary for the trip—the places to stop and focus on along the way to the ultimate destination.
After an extensive four-month process involving the Town Council, town staff and the community, the council approved the Council Strategic Leadership Plan for fiscal years 2019/20 through 2020/21 at their March 20 meeting. Strategic planning is never an easy process, as the town’s resources are finite. The town tapped into a facilitator to help involve the community as well as assist the Town Council in honing in on their collective priorities.
Now that it’s approved, the Council Strategic Leadership Plan makes the governing body’s intentions and directives clear. What the council has tasked staff to do sets the expectations, and the town’s next two fiscal year budgets and corresponding staff work plans will reflect the council’s priorities in the following seven strategic focus areas: economic vitality, culture and recreation, public safety, roads and water and town assets, land use, effective and efficient government and town finances.
Each of these seven focus areas have their roots deeply planted in the three main chapters of primary importance as laid out in the Your Voice, Our Future General Plan: community, environment and development. You can find each of these plans on the Town’s website (orovalleyaz.gov), but here are a few highlights from the Council’s newly adopted strategic plan and what the community can expect to see in the coming two years:
The Town Council has prioritized economic vitality for the community. The council supports the development of strategies to attract businesses to Oro Valley and ways to potentially expand available properties for primary employment—those higher paying jobs that are the foundation of a community’s economy.
Gathering data and expanding ways to help attract new retail and restaurant investment in Oro Valley, particularly when open storefronts can be filled and major commercial plazas strengthened, is also a priority. The Catalina Mountains are a majestic backdrop for all occasions, and offering residents and visitors more places to shop, dine and relax will be a feather in our cap!
Over the next two fiscal years, town staff have also been asked to conduct a comprehensive, community-wide needs assessment for parks and recreation amenities and programs. The information from this assessment will be used to develop an updated town-wide parks and recreation master plan, including new plans for Naranja Park, James D. Kreigh Park and the community center, which will help prioritize future investments.
Residents can also look forward to seeing a new playground and related amenities (e.g. shade structure, parking lot and lighting) installed at Naranja Park.
Community engagement remains an important Town Council value, and town staff will be looking into the best methods to reach and engage with even more town residents. Not everyone can attend Town Council or other neighborhood meetings. So the town will be looking at broadening its community engagement toolbox so more residents can share their viewpoints and stay involved.
With seven focus areas, 15 goals and 58 objectives in the council’s Strategic Leadership Plan, the community can expect to see work accomplished in every facet of municipal operations. In order to meet these goals, the upcoming fiscal year 19/20 Manager’s Recommended Budget has been structured to make investments that will support achievement of the plan. Town Manager Mary Jacobs will present her proposed budget to the Town Council Wednesday, April 17. From there, council will review and look into the specifics of how the budget will address their established priorities.
“This is an exciting time,” said Town Manager Mary Jacobs. “The council’s direction is clear and my team and I have used it to develop the Town’s budget and work plans for next fiscal year. It’s an ambitious strategic plan that will serve the town well. The town has a talented staff and I am confident in their ability to make it happen. There is much work to be done and we are already underway!”
Visit www.orovalleyaz.gov and search for Strategic Plan.
Amanda Jacobs is the Town or Oro Valley Strategic Initiatives Manager.