Last week, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors approved a revised timeline for the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan update after receiving a briefing on the effects COVID-19 has on the development process.
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced how the Strategic Plan Development Team, consisting of Board appointees and County staff, will receive community input while developing, updating, and finalizing the plan, as well as incorporating using feedback from the general public and the Board.
Dave Sinclair, the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), told the Board that citizen involvement in developing the four-year plan remains “the top priority,” even as the community deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the office will switch from in-person forums to online opportunities to determine the community’s wants and needs for the next four years.
“The largest adjustment is that we are proposing developing the plan in a virtual environment,” said Sinclair. “This is for the safety of the strategic plan development team members, your appointees and staff members, as well as members of the community at large.”
To reach county residents, the Strategic Planning Development Team will conduct an online community survey between June and August, host virtual community conversations in each district until mid-September, and seek feedback on a draft strategic plan by hosting virtual forums between mid-December and January 2021. The Board will also host a work session on the strategic plan in September, Sinclair said.
“This [virtual] engagement assures the same engagement with the community as was promised to the Board in January,” said Sinclair.
Now through September, the focus will be on collecting community input, with a number of opportunities for residents to share their goals and priorities. The schedule also provides three months for the Strategic Plan Development Team to draft the plan to include goals, objectives and key performance measures. The last two months of the process are dedicated to gathering community and Board feedback on the draft plan, and completing revisions based on that feedback.
There are three months reserved for community input with goals and priorities between now and September; providing the Strategic Plan Development Team time to draft the plan and outline goals, objectives and key performance measures; and then two months dedicated to reviewing community feedback, and revisions to the draft plan.
Sinclair said the Board will receive a draft plan after community review. “We want to get the community’s feedback on that draft – the focus areas, the goals, objectives, and outcomes developed by the team.”
Kaye Wallace, the county’s strategic plan coordinator, said that the Board is scheduled to adopt the plan in February 2021, and the plan can help the Board make decisions during budget deliberations. “Once the Board adopts the plan, that adopted strategic plan would be available to assist the Board with deliberations during the Fiscal 2022 budget process in March and April,” according to Wallace.
More information about the county’s Strategic Plan is available at pwcgov.org/strategicplan.