After a brief executive session with no action taken during a special called Henderson City Council meeting and short dinner break, a joint-session workshop was held for vision planning.
“What’s important to you is probably important to the community,” said Kent Hutchinson founder of C J Baxter Group, LLC of Nacogdoches as he addressed the joint-session meeting with the mayor, city council, staff, and city department heads.
The purpose of the workshop was to identify and tentatively agree upon priorities, along with goals and objectives, to help move the city’s team and city forward for the next three to five years.
“Where do we see ourselves in the coming years, we must decide where we want to go,” Hutchinson said.
He then divided the 20 plus men and women into groups and spent the evening working on three phases to determine where the city is, where they would like to be and how to get there.
The groups first participated in a SWOT analysis as they went to several posters hanging on the wall and wrote down what they believed as the city’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
It was an interesting concept, as the mayor or city manager would team up with a council member, a staff member and a department head working together to write down their point of view identifying these areas during the vision process.
Next, Hutchinson had the teams identify what he called the “stakeholders” that he defined as the people and families that depend on the success of the city to provide services.
Some of these stakeholders included citizens, landowners, businesses, the school district and larger employers to mention a few.
After the SWOT analysis was completed a debriefing was done so the entire group could see the results.
Some of the strengths revealed were great drinking water, downtown area, streets and highways, parks, financially solvent, relationships with other entities and staff.
Weaknesses included change, after-hour activities, tourism skill enhancements and water and sewer rates.
Opportunities included an excellent hospital, great schools, rural rail district, taxes and becoming a destination city.
The Texas Legislature, shopping out of town, the potential death of the rail, possible disasters and diseases and loss of leadership were listed as threats.
Hutchinson then led the teams in planning goals, objectives and strategies. These consisted of community safety, livability/quality of life, economic development, city financial stability and the main street/historic district.
He then gave each team a page of color stickers consisting of green, orange and red to identify the items of priority, important and not important. The teams then listed the previous items chosen in that order to identify what was a priority and important to start working on as part of the vision for the future of Henderson.
“My staff and I will compile all the data received tonight and send it to Jay (City Manager) tomorrow for consideration for planning the next budget session,” said Hutchinson.
The city’s team will then put together a plan of action and present it to the City Council for possible action in upcoming Council meetings.
The next City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.