The city leaders discussed ongoing issues with LaFayette’s infrastructure, finances, business recruitment and community involvement, among other areas.
One of the main agreements that the council and city manager reached during the visioning session was the need for the city to create a five-year capital investment plan encompassing each department and the city as a whole. The council plans to mandate to each city department that a long-range plan, outlining tangible goals and plans for future department successors, be turned in to the city manager by October.
Furthermore, the city has hopes to include in its own overall five-year outline a plan to build a new city hall. As local option sales tax negotiations are fast approaching, city officials believe this is the perfect time to begin planning to earmark funds for a new building using the next round of SPLOST. Theoretical plans call for a new building constructed behind the existing LaFayette city hall, with the space currently housing the older building being transformed into a more “park-like” public use area.
Also, the city decided that an update to its outdated codes system is desperately needed. In order to attract more businesses to the area, city officials hope to make the codes more friendly toward new and growing businesses, as well as more visible to those searching the city’s website. Though the city has yet to decide whether it will hire an outside specialist to have a crack at the convoluted old codes, the move is expected, as city manager Frank Etheridge pointed out that the only other body legally able to do so – the city planning commission – is not as highly qualified in the technical aspects the task would require.
Finally, LaFayette leaders discussed the need to have a changing mindset toward customer service, especially in departments catering to future business opportunities, such as the airport and golf course. The LaFayette golf course has long been a necessary drain on the local coffers, the council members agreed, as it rarely makes money but is necessary in order to attract new businesses from outside.
Included in the discussions were tentative plans to market the airport, golf course and restaurant as a single unit, and make the customer experience flow more smoothly between the three.
In order to increase revenue in that department, the city leaders decided, a paradigm shift in the way the golf course and airport are operated is sorely needed.
This and many other issue-resolving ideas that the visioning session brought up will take time for the city to implement. The council is expected to discuss the matters further over the coming weeks as it prepares for LOST negotiations later in June.