BEND, OR -- Bend City staff are narrowing down on the City Council’s priorities for the next two years, in advance of this spring’s budget discussions. Councilors took part in two days of goal setting, last week. Mayor Sally Russell says they focused several main themes, "Clearly, housing, transportation mobility, safety, economic vitality and, the underlying is always effective and efficient city operations. And, a lot of those goals were really informed by a statistically valid poll that the city did in early December."
Mayor Russell tells KBND News it's difficult to pick one top priority, "I look at this messy board that we created during goal-setting. I mean, there are so many different issues that we are paying attention to, right now, as a city. And, each one of them, in its own way, is absolutely vital to get right, as we move through these next two years, which is the short-term planning window." She adds, "We recognize that our biggest need in this community is the people who are 100% of the area median income and lower. We really have a need for lower cost housing and there are a lot of ways to get there, but we’ve got to bring partners in. I’m looking at a public-private partnership to really bring our next housing idea out and just accelerate this."
Bend's City Manager and staff are now refining the goals and will work with Council over the next month, with plans for a Council vote on their formal goals and a work plan, including measurable outcomes, by March 20. Those priorities will be used during budget planning discussions, which begin in May.