The Federal Way City Council plans to focus on sustainable revenue sources, economic development and reducing homelessness for the next couple of years.
The council outlined its top three priorities and created a vision for the city during a day-long retreat Feb. 3 at the Dumas Bay Centre.
The vision statement that came out of the retreat is “Federal Way will be the most inclusive, responsive and safe city in the region.”
The city hired Andrew Ballard, chief growth strategist with Mill Creek-based Marketing Solutions, for $2,500 to facilitate the retreat. Ballard led the council and Mayor Jim Ferrell in brainstorming sessions to create the vision statement; identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats the city faces; and set and prioritize goals.
The goals outlined are to increase sustainable revenue streams to fully fund the city budget and programs, enhance economic development activities to maximize opportunities in Federal Way, and develop a plan to reduce homelessness.
The council identified about 20 other goals, many of which fall under the top-three priorities.
Generating revenue came out as the top priority as the city begins the process of drafting its 2019-20 budget.
“We need to look at revenue sources,” said council member Dini Duclos, who chairs the council’s finance committee. “We cannot afford to lose staff because we are not paying them … and we need more staff.”
The council will use the information gathered at the retreat to create strategies to implement its goals as well as create a set of core values.
Federal Way Finance Director Ade Ariwoola told the council he hopes the vision will serve as a framework for the budget process.
“Please take it a step further, and let’s try to build a budget that supports your vision,” he said. “Your job is to come up with a vision. The job of the directors is to get you there.”
The format for the retreat differed from previous years, Deputy Mayor Susan Honda said.
“They were a rehash of council meetings,” Honda said of past retreats. “Instead of a 15-minute report, (there was) maybe an hour and half report from the directors. For several years, we have been asking to have a retreat where we learn how to work with each other and come up with our goals and our vision. This was the year to do it.”
Ferrell said he would like to see more community involvement in the visioning process in the future.
“Next year, we really want to have the public that shows up have an impact on the priorities,” he said. “That will be instructive for us. Everybody sees life from different perspectives. The most important thing is we need to keep in mind we work for the residents, so we want them here.”
A full report from the retreat will be posted on the city’s website, cityoffederalway.com, and its social media channels.