City of Hastings prepares to launch strategic plan

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The City of Hastings is pursuing a strategic plan, which is the ongoing organizational process of using available knowledge to document an organization's intended direction.
This process is used to prioritize efforts, effectively allocate resources, align shareholders and employees on the organization’s goals, and ensure those goals are backed by data and sound reasoning. The strategic plan will assist city department heads in planning for future fiscal years.

When it comes to strategic plans, City Administrator, Shawn Metcalf, referred to a quote from Yogi Berra: “If you don’t know where you are going, you are certain to end up somewhere else.”

“Yogi is right, with all the competing opinions, a city without a strategic plan is like a ship without a rudder,” Metcalf said. “A strategic plan is powerful because it discovers what residents truly want for the community, and then turns those desires into actionable strategies. When we deliver what residents want, trust increases. When trust increases, residents’ satisfaction increases. When residents’ satisfaction increases, we can accomplish more as a community.”

Having led a successful strategic planning process with the City of Rawlins, Wyoming, Metcalf is confident he can lead Hastings through a similar process.

“Please know that once we finish this process, the plan will not sit on a shelf and collect dust,” he said. “It will be instrumental in ongoing strategic decision making. Upon completion, we will keep you informed on how we are doing as a City via quarterly reports and through the annual
community survey results.” He encouraged local residents to engage in this process with the city, including taking the new annual community survey.

By focusing on the organizational process, a strategic plan is different from the city’s comprehensive plan. A comprehensive plan largely focuses on land use.

According to a timeline as presented by Metcalf, the strategic planning process will begin with a launch phase, in June and July 2023. Mayor Corey Stutte will appoint a Strategic Plan Advisory Committee made up of six to eight community members who will meet monthly, facilitated by

The Strategic Plan Advisory Committee will assist in future phases as well: data-gathering, analysis, composition, final report, implementation and budgeting.
The Strategic Plan Advisory Committee will present the strategic plan via resolution to the Hastings City Council for final approval in March 2024. As part of the implementation phase, the city administrator will build out the new strategic plan into a new software platform in April and
May 2024.

Department heads will finalize potential projects with rough costs that support the strategic plan. Each of these phases is anticipated to last a couple months, with the strategic plan becoming operational at the start of the 2025 fiscal year, on Oct. 1, 2024. ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas will administer a community survey as part of the data-gathering phase in August to October 2023 at approximately $30,000.

“I specifically chose ETC Institute to help us craft the annual community survey because of the quality of work they produce,” Metcalf said. “During the past five years ETC Institute has administered surveys for more than 1,000 cities and counties in 49 states. The results we’ll get will not only be statistically significant, but we will be able to measure ourselves against other communities our size to see how we’re really doing as a community. It’s truly powerful data.”