Council Continues Long-Range Planning


Mission With a Vision

The Town of Fort Myers Beach Council hosted the second forum of its three-part strategic planning effort on Tuesday, June 20, with facilitator Lorna Kibbey of Leadership Solutions. Participants once again were the five Council members with new Town Manager Roger Hernstadt, working as one group as well as in a single two-person breakout session.

Kibbey stating that their work in the second session would “answer The Big Question: how are we going to do this, make it actionable, and define success.” They reviewed their work from two weeks earlier, as well as results from the last long-term Planning Session conducted by a previous Council in December 2015, to determine if it still has validity. “We will work on an action plan to focus on core areas,” she explained, “and specify short and long-term goals. We will discuss our current year, next year, three years from now, and beyond, while always remembering The Main Thing remains the Main Thing!”

They unanimously agreed on June 5 that The Main Thing for the Town is, “We are a unique and vibrant island beach community,” with “Govern responsibly to ensure a unique and vibrant island beach community” as The Main Thing for Council.

Council agreed as well on the following statements to define success:

-We are recognized and respected for maintaining our community’s strong quality of life.

-We provide services to meet our community’s needs in a fiscally responsible manner.

-We protect and enhance our financial, environmental and cultural community assets.

-We obtain and effectively use feedback to be proactive and responsive.

-We responsibly manage change to sustain a vibrant community.

Following this review, Council created its new Mission Statement: “We protect and enhance our island community and its vibrant quality of life.” “I think we have it,” exclaimed Lorna! “This is pretty strong; now get it up on your website!”


They moved on to the Vision Statement: “This is what you aspire to be,” Kibbey explained. “This is almost this side of impossible. It should be short-and-sweet, not something you need to google to remember it.” “We are the best small town beach community: Beautiful, Enjoyable, Unique,” offered Mayor Dennis Boback. “That has a little zing to it!” “I think we got it,” agreed Council member Joanne Shamp. “I like that,” Lorna concurred. “The Town of Fort Myers Beach: Beautiful, Enjoyable, Unique.” “That is a great marketing slogan,” said Vice Mayor Tracey Gore: “BE U!”

“Now that we have our Mission and Vision, we need to identify what to do to ensure we walk out of here with all our goals set,” Lorna said. “I would rather walk out of here with three attainable goals,” agreed the Town Manager, “then with twelve pretty balloons floating out there somewhere. We need to chip off the pieces of the puzzle until we get there.” Council eventually determined five key components: Qualify of Life, Financial Viability & Strength, Asset Enhancement & Protection, Managing Change and Gathering & Using Feedback, with Quality of Life divided into Clean, Safe, Orderly Neighborhoods and Transportation.

Under “Clean, Safe, Orderly Neighborhoods,” Council ranked in order of priorities short-term rentals, property maintenance, Beach & Bay Policy for the end of streets, and commercial docks and residential canals. “Transportation” has traffic flows, comprehensive parking plan, and intermodal transportation.

“Financial Viability & Strengths” are in order, subsidization of parks and cultural resources, payroll budget, Capital Improvement Plan, building reserves, and alternate funding sources.

“Asset Enhancement & Protection” includes potable water system, stormwater, Times Square, landscaping and streetscape enhancements, beach and shoreline management with water quality, Bayfront Square, Heart of the Island Civic Center, Welcoming Gateways at both ends of the island, protection and enhancement of parks and cultural resources, and Town Hall improvements.

“Managing Change” lists a mechanism for interpretation and policy direction from Town Council, review and update mission and policies of Community Development, post-disaster reconstruction ordinance, FEMA mapping & CRS ratings, and managing infrastructure projects.

“Gathering & Using Feedback” has enhancing the Town’s informational outreach, collect feedback at point-of-service locations, using feedback when making decisions and reviewing goals, annual survey, and effectively using technology where applicable.


“Now we have a document with our five core areas,” Lorna explained, “to be successful with The Main Thing and our Mission and Vision Statements. Next, we create short and long-term goals that are specific and measurable, and we will prioritize them, using the SMART Goal System, with Short Term Rentals as an example.” SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time Bound.

The group determined it could have a draft Short Term Rental Policy by the end of December, take it to Management & Planning then on to Town Council for adoption by February 2018, and implement it by December 2018. “This takes extreme commitment to make sure you can hit your goals and are committed to this and talk about it in meetings,” Lorna related. “If you do not do that, then the failure is on you. These are the things you said are important, so you need to commit to this and the process, so use this method for each category, so work on these, then when we come back as a group, we will see where we are on these.”

Since Quality of Life contains two subcategories, Lorna split up the assignment, giving each of the six participants one section to analyze through SMART, with Joanne Shamp doing Clean, Safe, Orderly Neighborhoods; Dennis Boback with Transportation; Roger Hernstadt Financial Viability & Strength; Bruce Butcher with Asset Enhancement & Protection; Tracey Gore coordinating Managing Change; and Anita Cereceda examining Gathering & Using Feedback. These are all due on August 7, with Town Council meeting for their final session with Lorna on Tuesday, August 15, in Town Hall at 9 a.m.

“You did a lot of work, but gosh, you have a good Mission and Vision – yes, they are,” concluded Lorna! “Good work – you all did great!”


Gary Mooney