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Some of the goals stipulated in the city’s strategic discussions have been captured in an artwork that can be produced in poster or mural form.

SEMINOLE — The City Council has begun the process of trying to turn high-minded words into civic deeds.

At a Dec. 6 workshop, council members got an update on how staff intends to act upon the city’s list of strategic priorities.

Council members, city staff and select community VIPs convened in a conference center on St. Petersburg College-Seminole’s campus for a pair of strategic planning sessions on Oct. 28-29. Andrea Henning, executive director of the college’s Collaborative Labs, served as the facilitator of the discussions.

In addition to discussing various strategies for fostering business growth and quality community development, session participants sought to set a certain tone for the proceedings.

For starters, they formulated a mission statement: “The City of Seminole will serve with excellence, professionalism and integrity by providing an exceptional quality of life for those living, working and visiting our community.”

The group also pledged — in a newly circulated document — to:

• “Provide strategic planning and transparency in spending and managing of public resources. 

• “Provide support and engage families, residents and businesses by fostering partnerships. 

• “Act with professional accountability through accessibility and high ethical standards. 

• “Provide personalized and responsive service with the highest level of professionalism.”

The group’s stated goals include making Seminole “a true destination by fostering business development (while creating) a city identity by developing a downtown district.”

The group also pledged to “promote an environment of health and safety through prevention, education and service delivery (and to emphasize) physical and mental wellness through recreation, parks, and library activities and programs.”

Their ideas for improving infrastructure include creating a city stormwater utility and developing a new “state of the art recreational complex.”

The night’s workshop discussion was intended to pivot the process toward a series of action items to turn the council’s strategic vision into civic reality.

“Staff will be identifying items in the (next budget) that help you with your goals,” City Manager Ann Toney-Deal told council members.

Toney-Deal told Tampa Bay Newspapers city department heads will be asked to champion “one or two projects that can be accomplished in 100 days.”

Toward that end, the department heads will be meeting with committees of community representatives to help prioritize specific projects to be tackled quickly.

But the strategic planning process that’s been put into motion is anything but short-term, as it’s unlikely to be revamped substantially for another 10 years, as designed.

Some of the broader goals have been captured in an artwork that can be produced in poster or mural form. A first draft of the artwork was shown to Council, which voiced general approval other than asking for a do-over of a couple of the characters depicted — council members asked that a picnicking couple be shown drinking orange juice instead of wine.

Christy absent again

At a regular meeting preceding the strategic planning workshop, the council tended to a variety of housekeeping items via second readings of actions it had previously moved forward for approval.

Those included final approval for voluntary annexations of three properties lying in unincorporated council land — 9366 Ridge Road, 11211 102nd Ave. and 10787 64th Ave. The approval was by a vote of 6-0, with council member Tom Christy again absent.

Christy has been unable to attend council meetings since suffering a massive stroke in September. After a discussion regarding the councilman’s prolonged absence, the council voted 6-0 to have City Attorney Jay Daigneault directly contact Christy to discuss his council status.

The city charter stipulates that council members automatically are removed from office if they miss three consecutive regular meetings without being excused by a council vote. The council has declined to excuse Christy’s last two absences, so missing the next council meeting could see him removed from office.

Christy’s seat — which he finally won in 2020 after nine unsuccessful attempts, defeating longtime council member Jim Quinn — could be filled either by council appointment or by a special election. The latter route could cost as much as $20,000 by one estimate.

The council’s next and final meeting for the calendar year was set for Dec. 13.