Luzerne County Council’s strategic initiatives committee has developed a dreamy set of long-range goals and priorities that are set for council adoption Tuesday.
The package opens with a vision statement saying the county is a safe and healthy community with a diverse, prosperous and sustainable economy and also:
• Offers a good quality of life
• Preserves the natural environment, local history and culture
• Protects personal liberties
• Has a bright future that attracts people and encourages thoughtful growth
The goals list more than three pages of suggestions in a myriad of topics.
Under the category of community health and safety, for example, the committee proposes development of a countywide public safety plan; providing leadership to target the drug crisis; and promoting healthy lifestyles by eliminating smoking on most county properties and eliminating high-sugar drinks from vending machines on county property.
The goals initially proposed a full smoking ban, but some council members had expressed concerns about prohibiting jurors and stressed-out prison officers from lighting up.
Some of the ideas under the economic development category: strive for uniform countywide zoning and subdivision/land development ordinances; promote train excursions and other transportation modes; and convene periodic summits to discuss improvements to attract new business and industry.
The county should participate in a regional transportation entity to improve freight rail infrastructure and seek passenger rail service, the document added.
Other recommendations under this infrastructure and environment category include promoting construction of sidewalks and trails throughout the county; leading efforts to provide high-speed Internet service countywide; and advocating for the clean-up of acid mine drainage sites and separation of combined storm and sanitary sewer lines.
The longest list falls under the “good county government services and practices category,” including:
• Create a county reserve with a “healthy balance”
• Aggressively identify new revenue sources to reduce reliance on property taxes, including advertising on county property and vehicles, enacting a countywide sales tax and adopting a $5 annual vehicle registration fee that would be directly linked to a reduction in property tax
• Encourage further street renaming and renumbering to avoid confusion and improve emergency dispatching
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.