City of Palo Alto Utilities plans to hold a public workshop Wednesday to hear the community's opinions on which direction the department should focus its work on for the next three to five years.
The department is in the final stretch of updating its Strategic Plan — a document that will help determine its priorities and implement actions that will bring it closer to its goals of improving reliability and safety, customer service excellence, managing costs, and environmental sustainability, according to Utilities spokeswoman Catherine Elvert.
Since the beginning of the year, the Utilities Advisory Commission has provided guidance as the department worked on the update by identifying key policy, program and operating drivers; recognizing and understanding emerging issues; conducting a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities Analysis; and noting organizational needs.
The commission has input along each step of the planning process, however, final review and approval must come from the City Council, she said.
The forum is meant to be a space where community members can share their opinions about the ongoing strategies and moves for the future.
In a phone interview, Elvert stressed on the importance of community feedback.
"Palo Alto is unique in that it is the only city in California to own and operate its own full-scale utilities services ... so we have a lot going on in this small city of ours," Elvert said. "It's been about six years or so since we updated it (the strategic plan), so we know it's time."
The Wednesday meeting will allow community members, utilities employees and businesses to express their needs, concerns and goals, she said.
"It's really important for us to be checking in with all of these groups to make sure we are hearing and addressing all of the goals for our utilities through all this process," Elvert said.
The workshop will be held Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. at the Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium, 1313 Newell Road. Light refreshments will be provided. Anyone who plans to attend can RSVP at brownpapertickets.com.
Those unable to attend the workshop can send a question or comment to UtilitiesStrategicPlan@cityofpaloalto.org.