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Berlin council approves strategic plan

The Town of Berlin has a new strategic plan covering fiscal years 2025-28 following unanimous approval by town council members.

Berlin Main Street

Main Street in downtown Berlin is pictured.
File photo

By Charlene Sharpe, Associate Editor

The Town of Berlin once again has a current strategic plan following approval by elected officials this week.

On Monday, the Berlin Town Council voted 4-0 to approve the final draft of its fiscal year 2025-2028 strategic plan. Mayor Zack Tyndall thanked Salisbury University’s Business, Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) representatives for their efforts in putting it together.

“We said we wanted this before we passed a budget,” Tyndall said. “Now we have it.”

The town contracted with BEACON last year to conduct a three-phase strategic planning process. The purpose of the plan is to look at the town’s strengths and weaknesses as well as its opportunities. The document should help guide municipal spending.

The plan’s mission statement talks about how the community envisions a town where heritage, culture, resilience, friendliness and well-being serve as guiding principles fostering a vibrant and inclusive community. There are six driving strategies, with ensuing action steps, that are meant to help the town fulfil its mission.

BEACON’s John Hickman told the council this week that the plan’s concept of “One Berlin” really got a lot of support throughout the process. The other big takeaway was the community’s concern with affordability. In response to feedback received from the public in recent weeks, Hickman asked if the town wanted to add its support for infill development somewhere in the plan. The council agreed.

Councilman Steve Green said he’d attended three of the four community input sessions and had been impressed overall with the thorough process.

“I think you all did a nice job of incorporating concerns that were expressed,” he said. “I’m very at peace with the document. My question is who is going to hold us accountable. I want to know how we are going to build in accountability for ourselves.”

Green said the Town of Ocean City, for example, linked most agenda items to sections of its strategic plan to show a correlation between the government action at hand and the connection to the guiding document.

Tyndall said the town would send digital copies of the plan to its committees and boards. He said a copy could also be left in the council chambers and the document would be available on the town’s website. 

Councilman Jack Orris said the plan could be tied to various actions in the staff reports that typically accompany action items on the agenda. Councilwoman Shaneka Nichols said she wanted to make sure the plan was reviewed relatively frequently.

Hickman suggested town officials review the plan periodically together.

“You sit down and say how are we doing,” he said. “One of the other steps, as you go through… for some items you may look for a champion either among yourselves as council people, there may be certain action steps you have a particular passion for. So you may be the champion.”

He added that the town could edit the plan as needed.

“Things change,” he said.

This story appears in the May 16, 2024, print edition of the Bayside Gazette.