Citizen Survey Press Release The City of Key West, like many communities in Florida, has limited financial resources to address a growing number of important and expensive issues. These issues usually involve trying to delicately balance the need for a strong economy with the preservation of the quality of life which first attracted residents to Key West. These important decisions need to be made within a strategic planning framework which involves as many citizens as possible and utilizes the highest quality information on the costs and benefits of every project or change in services. The city does not have such a strategic plan and this sometimes results in decisions being delayed or made at the last minute with incomplete information. Sometimes, decisions can be influenced by who complains the loudest or who knows somebody influential. This is not the best way for the city’s future to be determined. Priorities need to be established in the areas of employee affordable housing, transit, parking, water quality, homeless people, public safety, code enforcement and many other vital issues. In order to ensure that every tax dollar is spent as wisely and fairly as possible the city has decided to embark on a strategic planning process which is much different and hopefully better than previous planning efforts. Too many public forums and reports have not been implemented and the city has taken steps to ensure this does not happen again. Professionally designed surveys will be sent to households selected at random in order to get more objective community input. Trained volunteers will visit each house receiving a survey to answer any questions and collect the surveys. Four group and public hearings will be held to validate the findings. Task forces will put a price tag on all items and recommend priorities. This information will be directed toward the city’s budgeting process in September 2004. At the same time, city departments will be working on business plans to become more efficient and provide the best customer service possible. Citizens are requested to give their full cooperation if they receive a mailed survey. This strategic planning process will only work if every citizen completes the survey as honestly as possible and participate in public hearings if possible.