Taking Charge 2013
The City has partnered with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center on the Taking Charge public engagement process since 2008. This year's efforts focused on a strategic plan of action. More than 1,100 people participating in an online survey this summer identified Safety and Security and Efficient Transportation as the top two outcomes. About 100 people participating in the October Community Conversations focused on a strategic spending plan in those two areas.
In the area of Efficient Transportation, those participating in the Community Conversation said the City should increase funding for street and sidewalk repair. The participants discussed the importance of new roads and the South Beltway to promote economic development and ease congestion.
But when it comes to budgeting with limited resources, rehabilitation of existing roads was the highest priority. None of the discussion groups recommended that funding for roads be increased at the expense of other City services such as parks, pools, libraries and aging services.
In the area of Safety and Security, online participants focused on keeping the crime rate low, but the discussion groups were more concerned with the eroding emergency response rate to the edges of the City. When they were presented with performance indicators for both crime rates and emergency response, participants said bringing more homes and businesses into the five-minute response range should be the City's top public safety priority.