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Afton sets 2009 goals

New Afton Mayor Pat Snyder isn't wasting anytime taking the city under her wing -- she already has a lot of changes and improvements she wants to make in order to better the city in the coming year. The Afton City Council met on Jan. 13 for their goal setting workshop and all of the council members came armed with a list of goals.

• Decrease costs

Just like everyone during these hard times, Afton is looking for ways save money and lower costs. Several ideas on ways to save money were brought forward and set as goals for the year.

One goal that Snyder brought, which would have one of the most profound effects, was to shop around the consultant positions, city attorney, city engineer, city administrator, and city planner, in hopes of reducing costs.

This is not to say that the current consultants would not be asked back, but there is a possibility that a whole new set of consultants would be brought on board to better serve Afton.

"Times are tough," Snyder said. "I want to see what else is available."

A second cost-saving goal that Snyder suggested to the Council was to encourage more volunteers to take on city tasks, such as recording minutes.

A find cost-saving measure would be to aim towards making the 4th of July Parade self-supporting by charging more for booths, liquor licenses, and politicians to appear in the parade, as well as looking for a volunteer band.

• Road reconstruction

Road reconstruction and improvements is at the top of the list for all council members because there are quite a few that are in very poor shape and are in desperate need of repair. In relation to that, Snyder also suggested the need to examine and possibility develop a set of standards for roads based on amount of traffic and residences.

• City charter

The idea of Afton becoming a Charter city is on the mind of the Council and they want to address that without actually taking a stance on the Charter issue. Snyder proposed that the Council looking into developing a policy regarding citizen-initiated petitions since that is one of the things the Charter aims to address, and if there is already a policy in place, there would be no need for a Charter.

• Committees

Several possible committees were suggested by the council in order to look at various aspects affecting the city. Some of the committees suggested include, a downtown committee that would look into architectural design standards, a financial or budget advisory committee, a parks committee that would examine way to improve and maintain the parks, and a advertising committee in hopes to help increase revenue for the city.

• Council cooperation

A final goal, and probably one of the most important, is a goal for the Council to discuss and make decisions on topics and issues in a civil manner. In previous years, meetings have erupted into arguments with an excess of animosity towards fellow Council members, councilmember Joe Richter said, and that needs to stop.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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