MONMOUTH — Monmouth city councilors want to keep community engagement on the top of their focus, but did not add it as an official goal approved on April 2 during a February team building session.

“I think the important part of this was, we really had a great discussion about what goals are, and I think we all agree that the items we want to focus on ... are really projects and tasks that lead to a definition of the kind of city we want to be,” said Mayor Cec Koontz.

Scott McClure, city manager, presented the agenda item which listed four core goals: determine approach to city hall upgrade; determine a path for urban growth boundary expansion; determine and prioritize stormwater, sidewalk and transportation projects; and assess economic development capacities.

Two additional goals were listed separately for consideration.

The goal to emphasize citizen and community engagement is broader and not as definable as the other goals, McClure said.

The goal to implement new council operating procedures is more internal, he said.

Councilor Roxanne Beltz said during a February session she wants to develop a community engagement process, not just emphasize community engagement.

“I don’t want that to just kind of drop off,” Beltz said. “That’s something I ran on when I ran for this seat. We need a way to make sure we’re having open, honest, regular, consistent dialogue.”

Councilor Chris Lopez thanked her for that comment and added that to emphasize citizen engagement and communication also was a council goal the previous year.

He said part of the discussion was if a goal should be something they can just check off.

“When I set my own personal goals, when I say I want to exercise more or eat a little healthier, I don’t exercise once and then check that off,” Lopez said. “I think these goals should be the things that are overarching things that set the tenor of our city and the future direction of it.”

Lopez said he didn’t want to change any of the listed goals, but would like “to keep the citizen and community engagement goal as a core tenet of how the council would like to move forward into the new year.”

Koontz agreed, and said how councilors operate with each other, staff and citizens is a core tenet of making sure they are moving toward overarching goals.

She said would like to have another session, after budget, with staff and boards and commissions, because they have their own plans and goals they are working toward.

“We kind of chose to go with (the six listed goals), stick with this and have bigger conversations later,” Koontz said. “I think it’d be great if we do have some sessions later in the year to reword things.”

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