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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Nichols

Corcoran’s Top 3 Goals for 2021

On February 3rd, the council and key staff members concluded our goal setting session for 2021. The outcome was very positive and near unanimity was reached by the council on 3 objectives. In keeping with our value of transparency, I would like to share these items with you along with the thoughts expressed by the leadership related to each.

1. Complete review of specific sections of the city code, including zoning ordinances to increase incentives to incorporate the vision of the city and improve the Northeast design guideline.

There are several issues in zoning ordinances that are concerning and cause conflict or potential for conflict as the city develops. I am glad to see that 4 of the 5 councilors selected this as one of the top issues for us to address in the coming year.

Because revising the entire code is a 1-2 year process which would crowd out all other activity, the intent of the council is to focus on the 10-20 specific issues already identified to enable a relatively quick process that will still allow attention to other priorities. If we can improve the controls around residential areas and what can go into them, and ensure appropriate buffers are required when different uses are proposed adjacent to them, we will go a long way toward improvement.

2. Develop a long term financial model including revenue forecasts and long term capital expenditure planning and requirements.

It is easy for a city to grow when there is demand for its location and lifestyle, but in many cases growth creates long term costs for the city that outweigh its ability or willingness to tax to pay for them. The first road in a new neighborhood is “free” because it is funded by the development of the neighborhood and the sale of dozens of homes, but in 30 years when that road needs to be replaced, the cost is not paid by the developer. Cities can find themselves with liabilities to repair or replace infrastructure at great cost and be unable to afford it.

This objective is intended to ensure that the city considers full lifecycle costs of things like roads, water and sewer lines, sidewalks, and city services like fire and police coverage that development generates so that we can shape development and services to remain affordable as service and replacements are necessary. This is timely for Corcoran as large developments in the city are already starting, and it will be helpful to ensure they will remain affordable over the long term, especially as we start to consider the best course for development of water infrastructure, fire service improvements, and other major topics in the next several years.

3. Facilitate Expansion of Broadband within the city

This is the third item which received support of 4 of 5 council members. I think we all hope that technology will deliver low cost, reliable and fast internet over time. But because we are not there yet, we should make efforts to establish current infrastructure where it is feasible and cost effective.

Based on earlier discussions with staff, they are starting to arrange meetings with Centurylink and Comcast to begin identifying options and opportunities to make improvements in this area. I look forward to seeing these efforts mature.

For anyone who has a hard time with their current service in the interim, you might want to consider this service, which uses cell towers to deliver wifi hotspot speeds in areas with poor coverage from conventional broadband. I wanted to share about them with residents who have expressed frustration at their 3 Mbps speeds. Unfortunately, the cost is approximately $160 per month so it is not a low cost option, but there is no metering, throttling or data cap.

There are other priorities that will also become goals, but these were viewed by a strong majority of council members as being key issues to address in the next year. I look forward to working with the residents and business owners to make progress in all three of these, and look forward to sharing more as events develop.

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