Bismarck seeks community input

BISMARCK (AP) — Bismarck officials are asking residents about their desires for the city’s growth as they look to prioritize programs and resources for the next five years.
The city is crafting a new strategic plan, so officials are taking a barometer of Bismarck’s services to ensure they align with the community’s expectations, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Bismarck’s last strategic plan brought curbside recycling and community parks within new neighborhoods.
Surveying residents informs city staff about where it’s most acceptable to cut back during times when funding is limited, according to city administrator Keith Hunke.
“This is our roadmap,” Hunke said.
More than 1,100 people have responded to the city’s survey, which was also brought to high school government classes to include a younger demographic, said Jason Tomanek, assistant city administrator. Bismarck officials are asking the city’s largest employers, such as hospitals, to share related input from their employees, Tomanek said.
“They tend to bring in people to the community and what they’ve experienced in other places,” Tomanek said.
Bismarck has so far engaged more than 4 percent of the city’s population for help devising a five-year vision and objectives, according to Jason Gray of JDGray Group LLC, a consultant contracted by the city.
A draft plan is expected to be complete by mid-2019 and ready for public comment in early spring. The strategic plan will include software to help city staff better track progress on specific goals, Gray said.
“I spent 15 years working within city management,” Gray said. “The one thing I hated to see was to spend a bunch of money on a plan and then that plan sits on a shelf.”