The New Albany Board of Aldermen adopted a new city plan Sept. 1, but now there are concerns about how it will be implemented.
Ward 1 Alderman Amy Livingston said a lot of money was put into developing the plan, and she wants to make sure it is implemented.
So far the city has paid $88,267 for the comprehensive plan, said City Clerk Frankie Roberts.
Livingston asked who is going to be in charge of making sure the city follows through on the plan.
“The mayor is not a city planner,” Livingston said, adding that she meant no offense to Mayor Tim Kent.
The city could contract with someone to help with the plan implementation, she added.
Livingston said she does not necessarily think the city needs to hire a full-time planner. She added that she does not think New Albany is ready for a city planning department.
She said Billye Jean Stroud, director of community development, already has enough to do and cannot take the lead on implementing the city plan.
Livingston initially suggested that $20,000 could be put into the city budget to help implement the plan. But she said she did not know where the $20,000 would come from.
Livingston later said that the city would not have to put $20,000 in the budget to implement the plan but should put in some amount of money. This would show the community that the city is serious about following through with the plan, she added.
Alderman at Large Keith Conlee agreed with Livingston that it is important to make sure the plan is implemented. But Conlee said he does not think money should be set aside for a city planner.
Conlee said he thinks the mayor needs to take the lead on the implementation of the plan. That is part of the mayor’s job, Conlee added. However, Conlee said implementing the plan will require more than one person.
Mayor Kent said he does not mind “leading the charge” when it comes to implementing the plan. But he said the cost associated with implementing the plan will be high.
Bob Barber with Orion Planning + Design, which developed the new city plan, said implementing a city plan requires a number of different entities, such as city government, private enterprise and nonprofits.
But Barber said there should be a “point person” to shepherd the process along and that it could be someone from city hall. But he said the city government is not the sole implementer of the plan.
Livingston ultimately said she would go with the will of the board in terms of how the plan would be implemented. But she said the mayor should be held accountable for making sure it is implemented.
The plan, which is called New Albany NEXT, has been in the works for about a year and a half. During his presentation on the plan, Barber said New Albany is a “premiere community” in this part of the world.
“You have a superior community,” Barber said.
The plan included extensive public input, Barber said, adding that the plan is a product of the people of New Albany.
The final part of the planning process is implementation, said Barber. All of the planning is just a “fun exercise” if the plan is not actually implemented, he added.
Barber’s group is also in the process of updating the city’s zoning code, which is “older” and a “strong candidate for modernization,” he said.
Ward 2 Alderman Johnny Anderson said the $38,000 that Barber is going to charge for rewriting the zoning code is not currently in next year’s budget.