(Guadalupe County) -- Guadalupe County is doing its part to help plan its future in a more strategic and efficient manner. That's according to Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher. Kutscher says the county has begun steps toward approving and implementing an official strategic plan for the rapidly growing county.
Kutscher says the commissioners court recently met up with an area firm to see if it was a possible match to help the county assess its needs and define its overall mission.
"The workshop that we had was to talk and speak specifically to the strategic plan. We brought in a firm out of the Austin area, TXP and Gap Strategies that has a considerable amount of experience in developing strategic plans and refining plans for counties and cities. What we talked about were multiple phases. The first being a base fund economic and demographic analysis for our plan that would give insight to the county on what growth is going to happen, where it's going to happen and how we have to plan for and manage those things. Then talked about other phases being community input and participation, commissioners court and stakeholder interviews and then basically outlining our strategic opportunities," said Kutscher.
Kutscher says with anticipated increases in population and more dollars needing to be stretched, the county felt a strategic plan was in order.
"I mean planning is vital to everything that we do. It definitely helps us make decisions for the future, but it also helps us manage what we're going to focus on, how we're going to budget. Every decision that we, ultimately make based off of our plans, determines how our tax payers are going to be affected. So it's so important to everything that we do. The strategic plan is a next step, a refining step in the way we look at projects, the way we look at growth. We've done a good job as a county, but we need to improve upon that process as our county changes as we grow, as everything becomes different than the way it has been and used to be. So we're really trying to take a specific look at how we plan and budget for projects, but really kind of step out of the box on right-of-way preservation, on capital projects, on long-term major construction projects, on different ways to finance and fund projects other than just going back to the tax payers every time saying we need more money from you," said Kutscher.
Kutscher says up until now, the county has operated without such a plan. He says outlining the county's operation only ensures success and the ability to do the right thing.
"The strategic plan is really planning in a different way than the county has (done) in the past. We've had individual plans like a thoroughfare plan that talks about transportation on county right-of-ways. We've had a capital improvement project plan, which talks about facility improvements or construction projects. This takes it to a totally different level as far as including the public more through this process, getting some experts and educated experienced people involved and getting us the right information so we can try to make the right decisions as a commissioners court and a county, but also as a community. It's really just expanding upon what we've done in the past as a county on our planning efforts, but including more people, going into more detail -- again, trying to find new and different ways to plan for and fund projects," said Kutscher.
County officials say meeting with firms is the first step toward moving forward with a plan. He says adopting a strategic process is expected in the very near future.