A bad night for strategic planning Manchester council cancels workshop

August 22, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

The Manchester Town Council's strategic planning workshop, which began on Tuesday, fizzled on Wednesday when Councilman Douglas Myers canceled the second evening's session.

"I'm kind of disappointed," Manchester Mayor Earl A. J. "Tim" Warehime Jr. said Thursday. "I thought we were making progress."

Mr. Myers said the canceled session will be rescheduled, and then the council will have to grapple with how to put its ideas into practice.

"You can sit down and write things on paper till the cows come home," he said. "If you don't sit down and do it, that's no good."

The second session was canceled because "not everybody could be there," Mr. Myers said Thursday. "It's that simple."

Mr. Myers, who has oversight responsibility for strategic planning and adequate facilities, said Councilman John A. Riley had said he could not attend Wednesday's session and Councilman Robert Kolodziejski had said he might be delayed because he had to work late.

Mr. Myers said his decision also was influenced by the fact that he and Councilwoman Kathryn Riley had other activities they could do if the session were canceled.

At the first strategy session Tuesday evening, the mayor, the five Town Council members, the town manager, the town attorney, some town employees and members of the public met to set priorities for Manchester in coming years.

After compiling a list of 51 issues facing the town, they selected those that must be dealt with in the next year.

They ranked the top 10 priorities for fiscal 1994, in order of importance, as:

Water supply, revision of the town charter and code, personnel issues, compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements, and development of a growth plan and a capital improvement plan.

Also, trash and recycling arrangements, repairs to the sewer system, the development of a nature center at the town's Walnut Street pond, increasing communication and public involvement, and improving the town's investment strategy.

On Wednesday, the group was to have decided which council members were to take responsibility for which projects, and where the money for the projects would come from.

Town Manager Terry L. Short said Thursday that the cancellation of the second planning session will not hold up any town projects.

He had expressed disappointment Wednesday after the meeting was canceled, saying he had hoped that the town could extend its planning further into the future.

Mr. Warehime said that the first half-hour of Tuesday's session went slowly, but then the participants became more involved.

He said Manchester must do more long-range planning.

"We can't run the town like we used to run it," he said. "It's just getting too big. . . . Things pop up that are too expensive."

Mr. Myers said, "We had gotten some things accomplished the first night," such as beginning to do a type of advance planning the council had never done before.

"We had made good progress" at the first session, Mrs. Riley said. "We really picked out the 10 things that we wanted to work on."

But Mr. Riley said Thursday that the meeting was not useful, and that he could have listed Manchester's top priorities before the strategy session.

"Most of the things that were talked about were really wish-list things, that nobody knows how to pay for," he said.

Mr. Warehime said he hopes the session can be rescheduled to follow the regular Town Council meeting Sept. 14.

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