The Year Ahead
December 31, 2009 9:44 AM
There would be no point (and no fun) in having this job if I weren't an optimist by nature. So here are ten great things that I'm going to work toward and that I hope we can accomplish together next year:
First, let's improve our local economy and our labor climate. Too many people are out of work, especially in the building trades, but Madison has tremendous potential if we can find a way to seize opportunities when they come up. It's time to reorient our community as a progressive place where investment is welcomed.
Second, we need to keep becoming a safer city. Crime is low and decreasing in the city as a whole. Let's work with the police, neighborhoods and community groups to make sure that's true in every Madison neighborhood.
Third, it's time to move forward on regional transit. I'd like to see a referendum as soon as 2010 on the regional sales tax that will move us toward a truly regional workforce transportation system. It's fundamentally about providing a key component to a stronger economy.
Fourth, let's get going on high-speed rail connecting us to other cities in the Midwest. That decision is really in the hands of the Federal government, but we're hopeful about a green light coming early next year. If we get it, then we'll need to nail down our station location(s) quickly.
Fifth, let's see if we can't jump start some stalled projects like Union Corners, projects studied over the last few years like the Madison Public Market and keep the momentum on projects like the Hilldale Target store, the Villager Mall, and Allied Drive.
Sixth, we need to make sure that the historic, new Central Library gets to ground breaking on time and on budget with an excellent building in the works.
Seventh, let's get the remaining debt laid to rest on Overture and move forward on a new, sustainable management structure. I will not ask City taxpayers to be involved in paying off the long-term debt beyond what they're already on the hook for, but once that's taken care of, we need to put in place a structure that really makes Overture an asset for the entire community.
Eighth, we'll continue to move forward on making Madison known as the municipal green leader in America through energy efficiency programs both within city government and in the broader community, continuing lake water quality improvements, ambitious programs to increase bicycle use and transit, and sound land use policies like in-fill development and the new, green Northeast Neighborhoods.
Ninth, we need to continue to build on the strong foundation of inter-governmental and regional cooperation that we've started with the school district, Dane County, the state, MATC, the UW and the economic development group Thrive.
Tenth, we'll continue to focus on providing excellent basic services through systematic management tools including The Natural Step, Madison Measures, Report-a-Problem, Neighborhood Indicators and our annual customer survey.
There's more to do, but those are the main points for me and, of course, much will happen that we can't plan for or predict. I'm looking forward to 2010 with a great deal of optimism and hope. Have a very Happy New Years. We'll see you next year... on Monday.