Thursday, October 5, 2006 - 11:02am
Madison – Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced a reorganization of the Department of Planning and Development that he said will “significantly enhance the way we develop and protect our healthy economy, improve the way we nurture and design our neighborhoods, streamline the way we approve and track development, and better coordinate the way we provide community and social services.”
Cieslewicz is restructuring the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) around the goal of enhancing the City’s role in economic development. “I want the City to play a more active role in business development and fostering the health of our local economy,” he said. “That is why I am consolidating all the City’s financial resources and economic development tools under a new Economic Development Director who will be on my Management Team and have a direct reporting line to me.”
The new Director will have at his or her fingertips the TIF financing options and redevelopment powers of the Real Estate Section, the bonding authority and home loans of the Community Development Section, the outreach and other assistance of the Office of Business Resources, the federal funding and revolving loan programs of the CDBG Office, and the community services support provided by the Office of Community Services and the Senior Center.
“The end game will be a better-coordinated set of economic development tools, with a united mission and philosophy working toward shared priorities,” Cieslewicz said.
The Mayor’s proposal will change the name of the Department to the Department of Economic and Community Development to reflect this heightened emphasis on economic development.
Cieslewicz will also create a physical and virtual “One Stop Shop” to develop a more seamless approach for building permits and development approvals. The physical One Stop Shop will allow developers and members of the public to meet with City staff from various agencies simultaneously to discuss and obtain approvals for their projects. It will be created in a temporary location in 2007 until a permanent space is renovated. This is one of several proposals from the Economic Development Commission that the Mayor included in his reorganization plan.
The virtual One Stop Shop will be accomplished through an upgrading of the website and the purchase late this year of the enterprise permitting software. This software, which will become fully operational in 2008, will consolidate and computerize all City approval processes.
As part of his goal to streamline the decision-making process for development, Cieslewicz will also fund a rewrite of the City’s outdated zoning code, ask staff to identify a set of non-controversial conditional zoning uses that can be treated as permitted uses without objection, create simplified development materials to assist developers and neighborhoods, and seek the input of the Department’s most frequent customers on changes and improvements.
In order to retool how the City provides services to neighborhoods in ways that help them better understand and access City resources, Cieslewicz will add a high-level Neighborhood Planner who will help:
· Clarify both physical and virtual points of entry to neighborhood resources by redesigning the neighborhood website and clarifying staff responsibilities.
· Create and implement a Neighborhood Framework that organizes the Department’s neighborhood activities in a clear and comprehensive manner.
· Synchronize grant programs.
· Expand the tracking system for neighborhood plan recommendations and tie it more closely to budget priorities.
· Publish an annual State of the Neighborhoods report to identify trends and issues.
· Revitalize the Neighborhood Resource Teams and Neighborhood Guidance Team to become more active in intervention and prevention activities.
To better coordinate community and social services, Cieslewicz is asking the Office of Community Services to create a pilot project for 20 families to determine whether targeting an array of services provided by the City, County and other non-profits toward the same families to meet their multiple needs is effective in moving them more quickly toward self-sufficiency.
He will also appoint a group to study a recommendation by the Steering Group to consolidate the four commissions that currently approve funding of community and social service programs: the Community Services Commission, the Community Development Block Grant Commission, the Early Childhood Care and Education Board and the Senior Citizens Advisory Committee.
“As the City’s contribution to social services increases, it makes sense to better target, coordinate and prioritize these funds,” Cieslewicz said.
The Mayor will also consolidate the architectural planning, design, bidding, construction, maintenance and replacement planning of all City buildings under one Facilities and Sustainability Manager in the City’s Engineering Department. The promotion of “green” building practices and implementation of energy efficiency audits in City buildings will be added to this new unit.
Cieslewicz included the new positions and funding in his 2007 executive budget. Resolutions and ordinances implementing the structural changes still need to be developed, reviewed and adopted. Many of the significant policy recommendations will be studied and developed after getting alder, staff and stakeholder input.
Documents related to the reorganization can be found online at:
- Janet Piraino, (608) 266-4611