When Odis Jones came to Hutto as its new city manager in December, he said he would not support a May 6 bond election.
Working toward a higher bond rating and finding alternative ways to fund infrastructure as well as commercial and industrial growth are ways to save taxpayers money," Jones said.
To help accomplish this goal, the city is working to develop its three- to five-year strategic plan. The future land-use map is being overhauled; zoning maps will be changed; and city development officials have the charge of combining cumbersome development codes into one that is “friendly for developers and for us,” Jones said.
City Council members examined a 35-page draft strategic plan in a special Saturday work session March 4. Council members and staff will now offer input on the ideas presented by JD Gray Group CEO Jason Gray and fine-tune the document. Jones said he expects a vote on the plan in May.
Gray said values used to guide the actions of executing the plan include being responsible, safe, authentic and progressive.
His plan has five strategic focus areas of public safety, fiscal responsibility, a well-balanced and diversified economy, quality of life and services and infrastructure and growth.
As the plan was developed, Gray said 10 objectives were chosen from 198 goals originally discussed. Gray went over immediate and long-term goal suggestions for the city to consider, including several detailed projects such as facilitating the construction of a new commercial spec space of 30,000 square feet and pursuing a bond election this fall.
In a March meeting, Jones said he "inherited a mess" when he came to the city. He told the council the same at the special March 4 meeting.
“We were significantly behind,” Jones said. “We’ve had some real challenges. It has been a real struggle.”
Gray said the “open for business” objective item does not mean the city offices are open 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
“It means you’re a facilitator of business, not just a regulator,” Gray said. “We’re not re-creating the wheel here. A lot of work [on the strategic plan] has been done.”
Jones said several changes are coming before the strategic plan is voted on, including financial reporting to City Council members.
“The way you hold staff accountable is by holding me accountable,” Jones told the council. “You’ll know if something unforeseen shows up.”
Updates to the plan continue.