New Year, New Cities


-By Erin Dixon

Right now, it seems like everyone is working on their new year resolutions, like eating healthier, volunteering or reading more. Some joke about resolutions never lasting long because no one is held accountable for accomplishing their personal goals. Individuals aren’t the only ones sweating out their way to a better life. Local governments are also setting resolutions and making strategic plans for a fresh, new year.  And since their constituents are holding them accountable, they’ll be far more successful in hitting their mark. I’ve discovered some of the latest, greatest programs and initiatives kicking off in 2017.  I’m excited to tell you about a few of them with early progress that stands out to me.

Longmont, Colorado – Strategic Planning

The City of Longmont conducted a community survey in 2016 to identify areas to focus on for improvement. From the results, the City drafted Envision Longmont, a long-term strategic plan based on resident opinion. Among the first steps listed in the plan is to elicit citizen participation in creating a new Land Use Code.

Canon City, Colorado – Data-based Budgeting

The southern Colorado, riverside community of Canon City adopted a $33.7 million budget for 2017 capital improvements based on results from The National Citizen SurveyTM (The NCSTM) in 2016. Residents said they want the City to put funds towards infrastructure, public safety and riverside Centennial Park updates. The City swiftly heeded the citizens’ opinions when council approved the budget for these improvements at the start of the new year.


Tacoma, Washington – Validating Local Volunteers

The City of Tacoma has been recognizing exemplary volunteers for 32 years though the City of Destiny Awards, and this year they introduced the Disability Advocate Award. A partnership between the awards committee and the Tacoma Area Coalition for Individuals with Disabilities (TACID), this special accolade acknowledges those who have made a difference in employment opportunities, health, housing, civic, cultural or recreational programs more accessible for people with disabilities. These awards are certainly something to celebrate in the New Year!


Topeka, Kansas – Citizen Engagement

In 2017, the City of Topeka launched a new mobile app called SeeClickFix Topeka. “SeeClickFix is a true citizen engagement tool,” said Interim City Manager Doug Gerber (via WIBW). This free app allows residents to easily report problems that need fixing to their City. Problems might include the location of a pothole or suspicious activity in the area. The app also notifies residents on the progress of their request while the City is addressing it in real time!


Novi, Michigan – Older Adults Ride Sharing

The Older Adults Services Transportation Program ride sharing program for disabled and elderly residents in the City of Novi is upgrading in 2017. The City now offers free rides to the civic center, library, activity center and special events. Reservations can be booked online or by text message, and passengers receive text updates about their trip.


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