The Cape Coral City Council discussed four strategic planning goals at the Hampton Inn Friday morning, which will entail further discussion with staff at future meetings.
Those four goals include economic development and redevelopment, the utilities expansion project and infrastructure, financial sustainability and the city's image.
Councilmember Marty McClain said one strategic goal alone will lead to the success of the next two.
"Economic development has always been our top and foremost," he said adding that "in order to get economic development you have to have infrastructure."
The City Council was also asked to describe what some of the four goals meant to them.
McClain explained that financial sustainability means revenue diversification.
"We as individuals do not invest in one pot, we split it out," he said.
Councilmember Kevin McGrail said financial sustainability is the sustainability of the city's business model.
"All of the things that go into the cost that runs government," he said.
Councilmember Rana Erbrick said it meant maintaining credit rating.
The council all came to an agreement that economic development and redevelopment meant vacant spaces filling up, the tax base increasing, along with more job opportunities in the city.
Discussions were had before the council decided to add image as the fourth strategic goal Friday morning.
Interim City Manager Steve Pohlman told the city council that the staff thinks that image needs to fit somewhere in the strategic plan.
"I think that based on history we feel that projecting that positive image to bring business here to promote our city is very important," he said.
The question of "what does the city want to be when it grows up" was addressed by many city staff members during the meeting, which eventually lead to inclusion of image as one of the four goals, because it will help them move in a particular direction.
Police Chief Jay Murphy said he recently attended a branding session, which brought forth a hurdle for the department.
"While we came up with a brand for the police department, there was nothing to tie back to the city because the city doesn't have one," he said.
Economic Development Director Dana Brunett said that realistically the city could come up with a brand.
"Branding is something we can do all the time," he said. "Image is earned, we have to walk the walk to get it right."
Pohlman began the meeting by telling staff that it was being held to set the course of action for the city for the next one, two or three years. He told everyone that he would like to make a commitment to try and determine what the direction of the city will be.
"I would like to come back and visit this at a quarterly basis," Pohlman said.
In January, strategic issues within each department will be addressed for a future City Council meeting in February to review the goals. Those strategies will then be developed in March to include action steps, completion dates and measures. The council will then adopt the goals in April once the strategies are reviewed for the last time.
Before the conversations began between the council members for the strategic goals, they discussed the city's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or challenges. Items were scratched off the list and others are going to be looked into by the city staff to see where they are now concerning that item.
Councilmember Derrick Donnell also asked his fellow council members if they were interested in reviewing the mission statement of the city.
The mission statement says, "We, the city of Cape Coral, will meet our community's needs through the efficient and professional delivery of quality services, with pride and integrity, in an open, honest spirit of teamwork, respecting the self worth of the individual and the environment."
"At some point I would like to see how that speaks to you," he said. "That is huge to me and that governs everything that I bring to the table."
The last time the mission statement was revised was between 1993 and 1994, according to city staff.