City Council's Top Priorities for 2021

Monday, February 22, 2021

City Council Establishes Three New Priorities for 2021.

The top three priorities for the Oxford City Council for 2021 are:

Affordable Housing image

  • Goal: Housing for Everyone
    • Objective: Increase the diversity of housing options (especially affordable housing) by creating incentives and policy that allows new development to include housing for all income levels.
      • Establish an affordable housing trust fund based on the needs from the housing study

Vibrant Business Districts

  • Goal: Economic Development
    • Objective: Work to build vibrant business districts and avoid non-occupancy in commercial properties.  Encourage all commercial properties inside the Uptown district to be performing, by passing legislation for incentives and disincentives for business performance.  

Climate sustainability

      • Goal: Environmental Sustainability 
        • Objective: Research and expand solar and renewable energy options in Oxford Community. (Consider Town-Gown Partnership for implementation).

      What was the process to establish these priorities?

      City Council had a work session on Friday, February 12, 2021, to determine their goals and objectives for 2021.  As a part of this process, City Councilors decided to keep the same 5 goals from 2020 and move forward with new objectives to achieve these goals.

      City Council Goals

      • Economic Development
        • The economy is viable year-round.
        • Economic development is interpreted broadly to include quality of life, business attraction and retention, and workforce attraction and retention. 
        • Housing for Everyone
          • Affordable housing and attractive housing options for all income groups. Prioritizing those most in need
          • Environmental Sustainability
            • Strive toward being a carbon net neutral community. 
            • Town&Gown Relations
              • A strong working relationship with Miami University
              • Deliver Service Excellence
                • Hire and maintain employees that provide effective and efficient core functions: public safety, water, wastewater, streets.

               

                City Council Objectives

                City Councilors spent time brainstorming objectives for 2021 with the goal of determining the top 3 priorities for 2021.  After much discussion, five themes emerged with objectives under each.   Some ideas were shared that are already in process and those were moved into their own category of In-Progress. 

                In-Progress (objectives to complete by the end of 2021)

                1. Continue to work on the solar project to be housed on City property. Complete solar array by December 31, 2021.
                2. Follow through on the goals of Safe, Healthy, and Equitable Society Resolution.  Review recommendations made by PCRRC to develop new approaches to crisis response and supporting OPD. Complete by December 2021. 
                3. Continue with the development of the College@Elm, Innovation and Workforce Development Center. Secure funding for redevelopment by December 2021. 
                4. Implement the public Wifi program.  Explore ways to sustain the program and possibly expand it to the City as a whole. Implementation by July 2021 and recommendations for continuation models by December 2021. 
                5. Establish more resources to be put towards communications specifically towards the usability of the City website. New website implemented by July 2021. 
                6. Continue on efforts to bring Amtrak to the City of Oxford.  Have a written commitment from AMTRAK for service by December 2021.
                7. Implement the memory work project of the Truth and Reconciliation Project by December 2021. 

                Summary of New Objectives Discussed:

                The City Council then discussed new objectives to help achieve their goals. Below is a summary of the themes that emerged and the objectives under each. The section with a star indicates the objective that was rated as a top priority in the polling.  

                Implementing sustainable development through code

                1. Work to avoid non-occupancy in business spaces and have a vibrant business community.  
                  1. Encourage all commercial properties inside the Uptown district to be performing, by passing legislation for incentives and disincentives for business performance. Do this by January 2022.
                2. Growth management: strengthen the approach to existing regulations to incentivize infill and disincentive sprawl. Ex: point systems for hitting sustainability goals that make development easier, make infill more attractive. Review code language to determine if it is strong enough. Make sections mandatory and/or offer incentives or penalties. 

                Improving communication to citizens

                1. Encourage collective memory work by working on cultural and historic development: black history memorials, lynching memorials, etc.
                2. Add more resources to Communications- grow and expand how we are communicating with our public. 
                3. Developing marketing plans on the strengths of Oxford that can be handed out to future residents and businesses to incentivize business and living in Oxford by the end of 2021.

                 Expand Climate Work:  

                (Decided to choose 2 with poll because of number of ideas)

                1. Formalize percentage goals for turning City cars into hybrid or electric vehicles
                2. More education on bringing older houses up to speed on practices that preserve energy (insulation, better forms of energy, being more aware of the environment)
                3. Create a system showing a connection between Council Sustainability Goals and new proposals. For example, staff reports can include goal alignment.
                4. Reduce carbon footprint: capture carbon at the wastewater treatment plant 
                5. Expand composting ability by creating another drop-off location.
                6. Research and expand solar and other renewable energy options in Oxford Community. (Consider Town-Gown Partnership with this goal)

                Housing

                1. Maintaining and expanding cold shelter and transitional housing program.
                2. Increase the diversity of housing options (especially affordable housing) by creating incentives and policy that allows new development to include housing for all income levels by 2022.
                  1. Establish an affordable housing trust fund based on the needs from the housing study

                Encouraging a Healthy Community

                1. Create new approaches to address mental health and addiction services in the community.
                2. Cooperate with community organizations, specifically with Miami University, to encourage health efforts in the City.

                 

                Narrowing to the Top 3 Priorities for 2021: 

                After narrowing to 6 overall objectives, City Councilors then completed a survey to rank each idea from 1-6, with 1 being their top priority and 6 being their least.  Results were averaged and the mean score was used to indicate the top 3. As a result of this survey, here are the top 3 objective priorities for City Council for 2021: 

                Top Priorities for 2021:

                • Goal: Housing for Everyone
                  • Objective: Increase the diversity of housing options (especially affordable housing) by creating incentives and policy that allows new development to include housing for all income levels.
                    • Establish an affordable housing trust fund based on the needs from the housing study
                • Goal: Environmental Sustainability 
                  • Objective: Research and expand solar and renewable energy options in Oxford Community. (Consider Town-Gown Partnership for implementation).
                • Goal: Economic Development
                  • Objective: Work to build vibrant business districts and avoid non-occupancy in commercial properties.  Encourage all commercial properties inside the Uptown district to be performing, by passing legislation for incentives and disincentives for business performance.  

                  Remaining Ideas:

                  All ideas shared are important and will be placed in a “parking lot” for future discussion.  Staff and City Council will have another retreat in July 2021 around the 2022 budget process. The purpose of this next retreat will be to reexamine proposed objectives, develop new priorities for 2022  and align them with budget priorities.