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Washington council sets its priorities for coming year

WASHINGTON — The Washington City Council has identified its strategic priorities for calendar years 2021 and 2022 and approved them at its latest meeting.

According to the resolution, among the top priorities are completing the study and implementation of a quick response service, completing Wellness Park sports complex administrative setup, addressing downtown “vacant-by-choice” buildings and examining police department staffing.

Supporting the grant application to Iowa Great Places program and conducting staff diversity training are also included as top strategic priorities.

The Iowa Great Places grant is the focus of a community committee headed by council member Millie Youngquist.

Last year, the city expressed interest in looking into adding a quick response service to ensure help for residents in emergency situations when ambulances are busy. The service would most likely be housed within the Washington Fire Department. A committee was formed to make recommendations.

Members of the committee were appointed by Mayor Jaron Rosien and include himself, council member and Washington Public Health Director Danielle Pettit-Majewski, Washington Police Chief Jim Lester, Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide, Washington Fire Department member Kelly Williams and Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson.

Since its creation, the committee has amended the fiscal year 2020 budget to include upfront costs for establishing the service including a vehicle purchase and launch of the service.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic attention was pulled away from the work for several months, but the committee is meeting again and plans to develop final recommendations, according to a memo in the council packet.

Regarding the Wellness Park sports complex, the memo states progress has been made, and it is expected to start being used June 1, 2021.