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Focusing on transparency

"Grit" graffiti on Barn Bluff. Sarah Hansen / RiverTown Multimedia

Graffiti at Barn Bluff, plans for a county drug court, concerns about a local gun range, an update on the Frederick Center and many official reports from 2017 will be addressed at the annual, intensive two-day City Council Workshop, Jan. 26-27.

"We have a really good agenda for (the workshop) ... and that really sets the pace for us next year," City Council President Kim Beise said.

The city's goal for 2018 is to focus on transparency and communication, and their upcoming agenda reflects this goal.

On Saturday, recent hires from 2017 Dan Rogness, community development director, and Michelle Leise, community engagement specialist, will outline a plan for gathering and incorporating public feedback.

A review of the city's 10-year strategic plan and budget process will also take place on Saturday.

Inserting a budget discussion into the council's conversation early in the year is an intentional move by city staff to give council members more time to review and offer feedback on budget decisions for 2018 and beyond.

"It's important for the council to buy into the strategic plan because so much of our budgets and work is built into that plan," said Kay Kuhlmann, council administrator for the City of Red Wing. "We want to say 'This is what's in here, are you comfortable with this?'

"Last year we did not feel like it was a smooth process, so we really want to check in with the council on what we're proposing (in the strategic plan) and get community feedback at each step," she continued. "We're trying to fix the process and make sure it meets the needs of the current council."

The public is welcome to attend the City Council Workshop, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at City Hall Council Chambers. A special meeting of City Council will immediately follow the workshop on Saturday to address Mayor Sean Dowse's appointment recommendation of Kim Chalmers to the Port Authority Board and also decide on a council representative for the Port Authority Board.