County Jumps on Strategic Planning Bandwagon

Every business owner knows the importance of having a plan. And what’s good for the goose is good for the government, at least in St. Johns County.

County commissioners voted unanimously to create a countywide strategic plan and hire a consultant to assist with the process.

“Every professional and private organization has a strategic plan,” said County Administrator Hunter Conrad. “The county, to my knowledge, has never had one.”

Conrad told commissioners other communities have embraced the strategic planning process, adding a strategic plan is different from the comprehensive plan focusing on land use.

“It is a trend moving in local government,” he said,

Conrad sketched the general outline of the process, which would include community workshops “in every corner of the county” as well as other community meetings.

Conrad said strategic plans can be good or bad but said they can help align a community’s priorities and goals.

“Many times (strategic plans) provide common goals and a common vision that everybody can rally around,” he said.

Commission Chair Christian Whitehurst noted the close connection between a countywide strategic plan and economic development.

“How can we as commissioners in St. Johns County plan for economic development without a strategic plan< he said. “I have always thought a strategic plan was a good idea.”

Commissioner Henry Dean said his only objection to a strategic plan would be if it interfered with comprehensive plan revisions.

“For me personally, my biggest concern is for us to reach out to the public and come up with a really, really good growth management plan for this county,” Dean said. “I don’t want anything to happen that will slow that down.”