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Strategic Transition: Buncombe Looks to 2030 as Commissioners Prepare to Create New Five-Year Plan

From adding affordable housing and increasing the availability of early childhood education spots to facilitating a racial equity audit and expanding the number high-paying jobs, Buncombe County’s Strategic Plan 2025 continues to help shape our community’s quality of life. As we near the end of that five-year plan, staff will continue the work on these priorities as Commissioners begin to focus on the Strategic Plan 2030. Commission Chair Brownie Newman says the current plan has been important to the County’s growth and evolution. “Our strategic plan has been our North Star, guiding everything from significant investment in affordable housing like at Ferry Road to our work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions like with the construction of our new fleet services building that meets LEED standards. We know our work is not done, and that’s why it’s so important our Buncombe community helps inform our work for the next five years,” he says.

County Manager Avril Pinder says the Strategic Plan 2025 proved to be a vital roadmap as the County looked to move into the future: “Our strategic plan helped us to align our mission with our daily operations; it gave us big ambitious goals that helped focus our work. Coming out of the fraud investigations and ensuing indictments, the important part for me was the redefining of our goals and setting organizational core values to govern how all employees will conduct business.”  Working toward lofty objectives has also helped County staff better understand significant trends affecting the community and how to pivot toward responding effectively and efficiently to various existing needs and emerging issues.

Strategy & Innovation Director Rafael Baptista says he’s seen the Strategic Plan 2025 help bring attention and resources to numerous initiatives. “The focus around substance abuse in the strategic plan combined with internal discussions and meetings with our commissioners have been the foundation of targeted efforts to address the opioid crisis,” notes Rafael. “Additionally, the strategic plan created a platform for commissioners to have more forward thinking and strategic discussions with staff and the community. It has also been a lynchpin for our efforts to build a culture of strategy and innovation with the County.”

As the 2025 Strategic Plan winds down, Rafael says the transition to creating the 2030 Strategic Plan will rely heavily on lessons learned from the current plan along with community collaboration. “It’s important to note this was our first effort at enterprise-wide strategic planning. While we are proud of our efforts, we will be focusing on lessons learned and how we can improve. That reflection and learning will be a key piece of the 2030 Strategic Plan process,” says Rafael. “Moving forward with the new plan, we will work with Commissioners to make it more actionable and impactful, and the public will also see more meaningful and meaningful performance measures.”

As work gears up to plan for the Strategic Plan 2030, Avril says she envisions more of a refresh instead of a complete reboot: “We will refine our goals to reflect the current and projected environment, develop specific strategies to achieve those goals, and determine appropriate measures. Over the last five years, we began building dashboards to track our progress. The community can expect better transparency as we have refined and improved on these dashboards.. The next five years comes on the heels of the 2043 Comprehensive Plan, where we had a robust community visioning process that provided a tremendous amount of input into how the public wants to see our community grow – that input gave us a head start on planning for the 2030 plan.”

Community engagement and input will continue to be a major driver as commissioners and staff look to start shaping the Strategic Plan 2030, with the process officially beginning in April and the first round of community feedback starting in May. Additionally, the County’s second community survey is currently circulating and will play a significant role in identifying current needs, opportunities, and challenges. After that first round of community input, commissioners and staff will work throughout the summer creating a draft plan and then re-engage with the public for additional feedback in the fall. The goal is for commissioners to adopt the Strategic Plan 2030 in the fall. Keep an eye on the County’s social media channels and our local news organizations for updates on how you can participate in helping create this five-year plan. And for additional information and statistics on the Strategic Plan 2025, click here to read about the goals and see dashboards charting the progress on all the associated initiatives. We thank you in advance for helping us craft this important long-term planning document that will continue to help make Buncombe County a first-class place to live, work, play, visit, and more.

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Updated Mar 22, 2024 02:22 PM
Published Mar 20, 2024 07:48 AM

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