Thursday, March 1, 2012

Durham Publishes Strategic Plan Progress Report

Among the ways that Durham appeals to both visitors and residents alike is that it is a real place with grit, soul and authenticity in all quarters.  A testament to that is the degree of openness with which local government business is conducted.

Durham residents looking for more information on how the City of Durham is doing on reducing crime, revitalizing neighborhoods, or providing access to safe and affordable housing can now view the interactive website or download the Strategic Plan Progress Report that contains this information and much more.

As part of its continuing commitment to transparency and accountability, the City has published this report to give an update on how it’s achieving the goals and initiatives outlined in the City’s first-ever Strategic Plan. Approved by the City Council in April 2011, the Strategic Plan is the City’s business plan, which establishes priorities and objectives for the organization and defines selected actions and activities within the financial limits set by the City Council. The interactive and printable progress report is now available on the City’s website and is updated each February and August.

According to City Manager Tom Bonfield, publishing updated data every six months helps to fulfill the City’s promise to be transparent and accountable to Durham residents, which is vital in being a well-managed city. “Since this plan impacts annual budgets and daily operations, it’s important that the administration stays on track with sound measurements of progress, and that we share that progress with the City Council and Durham residents,” Bonfield said. “Since this plan drives the way we do business, residents can be informed every step of the way on how we’re doing, what’s working, what’s not working, and our plan for fixing the areas that need improvement.”

The interactive site and progress report allows residents to easily view advances made on citywide measures and initiatives as well as view positive and negative trends. The progress report delves into each of the City’s five goals ― Strong & Diverse Economy; Safe & Secure Community; Thriving, Livable Neighborhoods; Well-Managed City; and Stewardship of City's Physical Assets. Under each goal, the report details the outcome measures, objectives and intermediate measures, and initiatives and tasks for that specific goal to show how the City is doing in achieving the goal as well as provide information as to why it matters, an improvement plan to impact results, and numerous charts and graphs to show data and trends.

Some specifics in this progress report include information on the Part 1 property crime rate, which is the number of property crimes per 100,000 residents, is currently at or above the target. Property crimes in fiscal year 2010-2011 decreased 8.3 percent from the previous fiscal year to 4,878 per 100,000 in population. Additional specifics in the report include information on the increase in voluntary code compliance as defined in the Thriving, Livable Neighborhoods goal. The initiative to implement a boarded vacant properties remediation program is also at or above target.

To date, of the 25 total outcome measures in the plan, nine are meeting or exceeding target, eight are slightly below target, one is below target, and the remaining seven have a target pending or no current data available. Of the 30 total objectives, 10 are meeting or exceeding target, five are slightly below target, zero are below target, and 15 have a target pending or no current data available. Since the most recent report in August 2011, 14 initiatives have been added to the plan for a new total of 51, up from the original 37 when the plan first debuted in the spring 2011.

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