Strategic Priorities

From Mayor Lauren McLean

Since taking office as mayor, our community has experienced unprecedented hardship; made sacrifices to protect the health of others; called upon ourselves to address public safety; and demonstrated, through it all, that we are committed to ensuring that together, we create a community that protects people, welcomes all, and offers opportunity for everyone.

As I look to the future, I am encouraged by the passion I see both in our community and in the City of Boise organization. In these challenging times is the opportunity to rebuild stronger and safer, to seek ways to recover as a more resilient community. Our strategic priorities set a course for this effort as we work to create a city for everyone.

Priority Areas

A Safe and Healthy City for Everyone

A safe and healthy city serves and includes everyone. Under the leadership of a new Fire Chief and Police Chief, we’ll make sure our policies and practices provide equitable treatment for all people, communities and neighborhoods. We’ll work to create public safety agencies made up of individuals committed to serving our community.

Goal: Strengthen 21st century community policing

At the heart of a safe and healthy city is a trusted police department that provides services and protection to the community.

Actions

  • Increase staffing for the existing Behavioral Health Unit, which pairs a patrol officer with a mental health professional to work proactively with residents who frequently interact with law enforcement
  • Expand Behavioral Health Unit services for residents who suffer from addiction
  • Provide crisis intervention training for all officers, and expand other strategic training opportunities
  • Partner with our community to have conversations and develop objectives around community policing and social services
  • Increase transparency by providing easy access to Police data in the form of interactive dashboards, including use of force data and demographic information on police contacts with community members
  • Update the Boise Police Department’s policies and procedures, including its use of force policy, and allow public review of any future policy change
  • Update discipline process for officers to ensure it is fair, transparent and adheres to best practices
  • Provide wellness and safety programming for officers

Goal: Protect community health

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on our community. A healthy city proactively suppresses the virus and supports its most vulnerable residents.

Actions

  • Partner with Central District Health to ensure our community takes the necessary safety precautions, like wearing masks and avoiding crowds, to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Work with community organizations to provide food and housing to vulnerable populations, to include funding hotel rooms for those experiencing homelessness who have COVID-19

Goal: Ensure we have the public safety staffing and infrastructure to respond to growth

To provide a safe and healthy city for everyone, we must ensure that our fire and police departments are staffed and resourced adequately. From the physical location of fire stations throughout the community, to the presence of mental health coordinators, we must look closely at what is needed for our growing city.

Actions

  • Design (2021) and build (2022) a new fire station in Northwest Boise
  • Update Fire Station 5 to ensure it has the infrastructure to provide proper services to a growing Boise
  • Open downtown Police substation and plan for new Police station in eastern Boise

A Home for Everyone

Street view of Boise neighborhoodKeep our neighborhoods people-scaled and people-friendly, knowing that strong neighborhoods need housing at every price point.

Goal: Create an Eviction Prevention Fund

One of the major barriers to maintaining stable and permanent housing is the threat of eviction. An Eviction Prevention Fund can provide a safety net to residents in financial crisis.

Actions

  • Work with community organizations to deliver eviction prevention services to residents in need

Goal: Establish a systematic approach to addressing homelessness

By strategically expanding services like outreach, mental health and housing, we can make a positive impact on individual lives and decrease the number of people experiencing homelessness.

Actions

  • Expand the recently-created outreach street team by developing a cross-agency, multi-jurisdictional outreach program
  • Broaden the outreach team’s reach to those living in their cars/RVs, camping or otherwise unsheltered
  • Grow outreach services to include shelter, mental health services, substance use treatment and housing
  • Support collaborative efforts to end family homelessness

Goal: Create and staff a community housing land trust

The trust will leverage city-owned land to create housing for residents at all income levels, and ensure it remains affordable far into the future.

Actions

  • Begin construction of mixed-income housing on city property at Franklin and Orchard (anticipated in Fall 2021)
  • Move forward with acquisition of other properties currently being considered by the land trust

Goal: Protect existing affordable housing and grow affordable housing options

Choice in housing matters in our community. From mobile home parks to duplexes, we must offer housing choices in Boise to make our community affordable and viable for all who wish to call Boise home.

Actions

  • Require city review of applications to demolish buildings if the demolition would result in loss of affordable housing
  • Negotiate with developers planning to demolish multi-unit housing, like apartments and duplexes, to preserve existing affordable housing or develop new affordable housing where possible
  • Pursue partnerships with community organizations, leveraging city resources to grow affordable housing

Movement for Everyone

Make it easier to bus, bike and walk, because our residents must be able to connect to opportunities when and where they exist. And invest in creative approaches to move our residents from their homes to work and everywhere in between.

Goal: Improve the regional bus system

A user-friendly regional bus system can move people to their jobs and lives faster and more efficiently.

Actions

  • Build partnerships with other agencies across the region like Valley Regional Transit (VRT), the Community Association of Southwest Idaho and the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) to evaluate transit options
  • In partnership with VRT, work on projections for future growth in public transportation and evaluate possible route changes

Goal: Leverage canals as bike and pedestrian pathways

Build on the success of the Greenbelt and the path along portions of the Ridenbaugh Canal to develop a robust system of off-street walking and biking pathways, which can safely connect our city and allow residents to get around without relying on a vehicle.

Actions

  • Engage Boiseans with diverse perspectives and life experiences to help create a Pathway Master Plan, which will envision Boise’s future pathway network
  • Pursue opportunities identified by the Master Plan to strategically expand the number of pathways open to the public

Goal: Develop collaborative relationships with regional partners

People who live, work and play in Boise need agencies from across the Treasure Valley to come together to create solutions that serve the entire metro area.

Actions

  • Quarterly meetings with Mayor McLean, City Council and Ada County Highway District (ACHD) leadership
  • Joint public meetings with ACHD commission and Boise City Council 2-3 times per year
  • Quarterly leadership meetings with Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and city leadership
  • Quarterly staff level meetings with ITD, ACHD and Capital City Development Corporation

Goal: Rewrite the Boise City zoning code

A city’s zoning code drives what can and cannot be built within the city limits and helps determine important factors like placement of housing and services, walkability and bike-ability. The City of Boise’s zoning code has not changed significantly in decades and needs to be updated to reflect the Boise of today, and the Boise we hope to have in the future.

Actions

  • Create a community advisory committee to lend their voice to this high-impact project
  • Partner with external experts to identify the project plan
  • Determine what types of development to incent, including great design and strategic placement of new housing to create sustainable, mixed-use neighborhoods

A Clean City for Everyone

Protect our clean air and clean water, improve parks, open spaces and pathways that unite neighborhoods and connect us. Create opportunity through the transition to a clean energy economy.

Goal: Develop a Climate Action Plan

By creating a Climate Action Plan our community will see the steps that the City of Boise and our community will be taking to combat climate change and create a sustainable environment for generations.

Actions

  • Collect and analyze data to be used to inform the plan
  • Create a robust community engagement strategy that ensures outreach to those that live, work and play in Boise so they can provide input throughout the development of the plan and into the execution

Goal: Initiate climate economy incubator

A climate economy incubator promotes a healthy and vibrant economy by finding and supporting new business opportunities that address climate issues.

Actions

  • Determine the scope of the accelerator through evaluation of funding models and identification of potential partnerships
  • Create concept scope and present to city leadership with guidance of a community working group

Goal: Plant new trees in neighborhoods with limited tree canopy and larger vulnerable populations

Tree canopies are important for the environmental health of Boise. From decreasing the amount of rain and snow melt that flows into the river, to providing much needed shade that reduces heating and cooling costs, the trees of Boise increase quality of life for those who live, work and play here.

Actions

  • Create a tree planting event for Fall 2020 that engages Boise residents across all communities
  • Create a database to track tree planting throughout the city
  • Identify partnerships and funding sources to support this initiative

Create a Climate Action Division

By putting a singular focus on climate change, preparedness and innovation in the city, Boise can position itself to be a national leader in mitigating climate impacts and innovating to create a robust climate economy.

Actions

  • Using existing staff, create a division within the Department of Public Works to focus on climate action
  • Align climate efforts across all city departments
  • Develop key performance indicators related to climate and share publicly to increase transparency

Opportunity for Everyone

Invest to build an economy that uplifts everybody in our community, with family wage jobs and access to opportunities. Support homegrown innovation and invest in education, housing, transportation, climate innovation, and arts and culture knowing that each of these contribute to a strong, inclusive economy.

Goal: Build long-term economic opportunity and resilience in our city

A city for everyone plans for and executes strategy to create strong economic opportunity and resilience for the long-term.

Actions

  • Work with community members to identify key areas of focus and investment
  • Implement strategic practices that focus on specific outcomes tied to long-term economic opportunity

Goal: Attract and expand businesses

A city for everyone attracts employers that reflect Boise’s character, complement existing businesses and meet employee needs.

Actions

  • Develop a “Ready Team,” including staff from across the city, to provide rapid response and services to attract, retain and expand businesses in our community

Goal: Develop daycare solution for city employees

Available daycare slots are limited throughout Boise and the Treasure Valley. By providing daycare for children of city employees, we will enhance our recruitment and retention efforts for top-quality employees, and free up daycare spots in the community for non-city employees. Additionally, a city-based daycare could provide child care services for residents who wish to participate in public meetings and events.

Actions

  • Identify and partner with a community daycare provider to discuss tuition options and sliding scales (based on income and other considerations)
  • Identify a city facility to house the daycare site
  • Develop an enrollment process

Goal: Promote COVID-19 Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on our economy, but we can promote a swift economic recovery by supporting local businesses and partnering with community leaders to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.

Actions

  • Provide grants to small businesses in Boise that are directly affected by the pandemic
  • Continue COVID Recovery Economic Task Force, with participation from a diverse set of community leaders, to develop an actionable recovery plan
  • Allow businesses to safely expand services outdoors onto sidewalks and into parklets where possible

Engaging Everyone

We will fiercely seek opportunities for collaboration, remain accessible and transparent, and build on our residents’ passion for Boise and desire to shape their future.

Goal: Meet parallel communities where they’re at

As an accessible and transparent municipal government, we must ensure all voices that wish to participate in each conversation are provided the invitation and the opportunity.

Actions

  • Identify and incorporate new approaches to ensure the city's communication and engagement activities reach a broad audience, including residents who don’t typically interact with government
  • Work with community partners to increase participation in public meetings, city activities and conversations about the future of Boise

Goal: Create opportunities for underrepresented communities to interact and have conversations with Mayor McLean

Hearing from and listening to constituents is fundamental to a successful government. Boiseans do not always have the means or ability to meet the mayor at City Hall, so it is imperative that the mayor is accessible to constituents where they are.

Actions

  • Continue monthly Listening Sessions with the mayor
  • Partner with employers, faith-based organizations and others to provide listening session opportunities
  • Remove barriers to participation by offering sessions throughout the city at diverse days and times

Goal: Increase mayor transparency

Boiseans deserve to know what their mayor is working on, who she is meeting with and what her priorities are.

Actions

  • Publish the mayor’s meeting calendar on the city website
  • Ensure constituent services meet service expectations and provide responses in a timely manner

Goal: Improve language translation services

Boise is a welcoming community made up of people from many different backgrounds. A government for everyone provides its residents access to city materials in the language they speak.

Actions

  • Provide translations for core documents in the most common languages spoken by users
  • Publicize and make accessible the process for requesting documents in languages other than English
  • Provide ASL and language translation at Listening Sessions with the mayor and other public events

Goal: Conduct an inclusion assessment with City of Boise departments and employees

Residents deserve to have a city government that is responsive, open and inclusive. The first step to this is understanding, organizationally, our strengths and opportunities so that we can focus our efforts where they’ll have the greatest impact.

Actions

  • With an external community partner, conduct an organizational assessment
  • Create a framework for action so the city can become more responsive to the needs of the larger community through training, policy reviews and updates, and process improvement efforts

Goal: Create a workplace that reflects our community

In a city for everyone, the community sees themselves in their government - from police officers and firefighters to city leadership. A diverse workforce also ensures that different ideas, paths to solutions and innovations are possible.

Actions

  • Assess the city’s internal cultural environment to identify opportunities for increased understanding of the value of a diverse workplace
  • Increase visibility of underrepresented groups inside the city for a stronger sense of identity, building a culture to support allyship for a more welcoming and inclusive organization
  • Identify and remove barriers to city employment and promotions for underrepresented communities
  • Increase awareness about unconscious bias across the organization

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