Council sets priorities

— Some members of the Steamboat Springs City Council have two years left in their terms; the others have four.

Council members, however, looked beyond their terms to set priorities reaching as far as five years from now.

Council members met Thurs--day for a daylong retreat. Their morning was spent discussing issues such as how to work together and communicate better. The afternoon gave council members time to share their priorities and the goals that would help achieve those priorities.

The council's top priorities, in order, were:

Create a sustainable affordable-housing program. This includes implementing two affordable housing tools, called inclusionary zoning and employee-housing linkage. Members agreed they should move forward with the purchase of land to build affordable housing units on.

Maintain and diversify the economy. Council members said they were interested in an economic inventory that would provide a cost-benefit analysis of Triple Crown, the Steamboat Springs Airport and other entities.

Ensure sufficient transportation infrastructure. Members agreed that the city should identify potential deficiencies in transportation infrastructure, then create a program to address those issues.

Enhance Steamboat's recreational assets. The city needs to identify a baseline for services by doing an inventory of recreational assets, council members said. Then they can address desired enhancements.

Create an environmental policy. To start this process, members agreed, they need to gather the findings of Steamboat groups that deal with the environment.

Other ideas some council members discussed included making the city more accessible, such as by putting City Council packets and development proposals online. They also talked about the character of Steamboat and about promoting it as a "green," or environmentally friendly, city.

Council members agreed that creating greater accessibility and promoting partnerships with other groups were not part of the priority list but were still on the "to do" list.

Defined what their jobs are and are not. They agreed they should take more of a leadership role than a management role.

Agreed to focus more on important issues rather than immediate issues.

Decided that, during meetings, they should speak with one another rather than feel as though they must address an audience.

Agreed they needed to improve communication. Ideas to facilitate this need were to have lunch meetings or to have more one-on-one conversations about upcoming issues.

Decided to review the format, agenda and timing of meetings. The move is part of a larger goal to manage the council's time better.

Said the council's legacy included being proactive and not reactive.

Made a commitment to be willing to put off less important business so they can focus on what is important.

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