by Gina Peebles, CPRP, Assistant County Manager for Community and Administrative Services, Alachua County
If you are a long-time resident of your community, you may reminisce about how things used to be in the “good ol’ days.” I remember seeing a photograph published in our local newspaper of a major intersection from 50 years prior and the intersection was unrecognizable compared to how it looks today. The gravel road was two-lanes with very retro-looking commercial buildings. The road now offers five paved-lanes with modern-looking buildings. How will it look 50 years from now…my crystal ball shows that it will, again, look drastically different than how it looks today.
Our respective communities change a little (hopefully for the better) every day. What an awesome responsibility we, as appointed staff, have: to make reasonable recommendations to our policy makers. Every meeting of your elected body results in changes that will eventually impact the look and feel of your community. Land use changes, personnel actions, budget priorities, experience, and perspective result in long-term change.
What works in one community may not work in another because, when it comes to local government, there is no “one size fits all.” The common thread among us is that we have the best of intentions for our respective communities and want to leave it better than how we found it.
While I really don’t have a crystal ball, and can’t see the future, l do know that change is inevitable. By being an active and engaged FCCMA member, you can participate in relevant training opportunities and connect with other city and county managers to leverage their ideas, experience, and perspective to best prepare for the future.