By Mayor Shelby Rognstad
As this holiday season approaches, I’m incredibly grateful to all of our city staff for their dedication, hard work and professionalism. We are blessed to have such a talented and committed team serve the citizens of Sandpoint. Elected officials — myself included — have asked a lot of city staff to implement the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan. This has been a monumental undertaking and staff has stepped up to the challenge.
This year the city upgraded its financial software. This integration period has been under way since April and affects every division within the city. Its implementation not only accomplishes needed workflow efficiencies and improved integration among staff, it dramatically improves service delivery to Sandpoint citizens.
As an example, all city permits and applications can now be filed and paid online as of Jan. 2, 2020. The city’s finance team, led by Sara Lynds, and other key members from each division have been working long hours for eight months to achieve this objective. Their persistence through this process has been monumental. Integration of the new system accomplishes the city’s strategic goal to make government more efficient and effective for staff and citizens.
The city adopted a new proactive snow removal plan last year. The plan provides 24/7 snow management, increased personnel, a prioritized protocol and an easier parking plan for citizens to follow. Remember to park on the even side of the street during snow events to make plowing easier. City crews work day and night to keep our right of ways passable. Much gratitude to our streets, parks, police and utilities crews for their hard work and dedication.
This year’s holiday lighting, performed by the parks staff, was extended down Fifth Avenue and across Sand Creek. Downtown businesses and shoppers appreciate all that you have done to keep downtown Sandpoint beautiful, safe and inviting — even in the darkness of winter.
I’m very proud of the Sandpoint Police Department. Our Investigations Division has an extremely high closure rate on investigations. The department’s professionalism and commitment to community policing are exceptional and worthy of praise.
The Infrastructure and Development Services Division has been managing an immense body of work over the past year. From the downtown streets project, the Ontario sidewalk project, War Memorial Field and Capital Improvement Plans, IDS has been working long hours to maintain and improve city infrastructure.
Sandpoint has seen rapid growth over the past couple of years and this has put significant pressure on the planning staff. On top of a busy year of building projects, development pressure has ushered numerous zoning change requests and prompted the development of a new airport chapter in the city’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Planning staff has accomplished all of this under a tight timeline.
There are many more individuals who have gone above and beyond expectations to be part of this team and deliver city services at the highest level. It is an honor and privilege to work with such incredible people. You make me a better person and you make the city a better place for residents and visitors now and into the future.
I am also very grateful to all those who volunteer your time and energy serving on city boards, commissions and committees. Your efforts make Sandpoint one of the most livable cities anywhere.
To all those who get involved in your government, volunteer with one or more of Sandpoint’s 300+ nonprofits or just help out your neighbor when needed, your contributions make Sandpoint what it is: A strong community. Thank you for making our home the best that it can be.
Lastly, a friendly reminder to all that now is your chance to have your voice heard on the Parks and Rec. Master Plan. Please follow this link to review the proposed plans and provide any constructive feedback so that we can incorporate it into the final draft in 2020: opentownhall.com/portals/287/Issue_7920. I have pushed final council adoption to the spring to allow more time for public feedback and participation. There are also physical plans available for review in City Hall.
I wish you and your families the happiest of holidays.
Please join me at the Mayor’s Roundtable on Friday, Dec. 20, 8 a.m. at Cedar St. Bistro, to discuss this and other issues important to Sandpoint’s future. Starting in January, the Roundtable will take place on the third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. Location will be announced in the Jan. 16, 2020 edition.
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