Beach said he has always favored a comprehensive plan and noted that it is important for both the city and the county. He asked the community to engage in thoughts about what Winchester will offer for the next generation of citizens. "I am very much in favor of doing long-term studies," Beach said.
Book added that the city is already conducting a visioning process and the comprehensive plan. "I think when we update them every five years, we will be able to meet the goals," he said, noting that if the long-term goals are removed the community may lose sight of them.
Cox indicated that a two-, five- and 10-year plan is a grand idea that needs to be done. "Also, we can't let ourselves be tied down by what somebody may have written 20 years ago," he said, adding that a plan should be considered a strong suggestion.
Reed said she supported a strategic plan, which is key, but a plan must have measurable goals. "I believe that we do need the plan ... but it needs input not just from the city commission. It needs input from the public."
What is the No. 1 issue facing Winchester, and how would you plan to address it?
Reed said basic services such as fire, police and EMS services top the list, noting that those are a must. "There's too many things in our community that can happen, that can go wrong, without these services to do the job they do," she said, later commending the services already in place.
Cox focused on economic growth, saying Winchester needs not just jobs, but also good-paying jobs for the youth to stay in the community. "That has to change," Cox said. He added that good-paying jobs contribute to the city coffers. "The payroll tax that all those guy pay, pays for everything else the city does."
Book said he was interested in working on the drainage problem all over town, including the North Main Street box culvert. "Every time it rains hard, that is the first place that Public Works goes to block off," he said. "We've got the county fire station right there." He added that responders would have to travel around the flood waters.
Expressing memories of two recent drug overdoses, Beach said the No. 1 issue on his mind is Winchester's drug problem. "We could have the best museums, we could have excellent economic activity," the commissioner said. "But when our young people are wasting their lives on the abuse of drugs, that is a significant and serious issue for me."
Aaron said without a doubt education tops the list of concerns. "Education controls everything," he said, noting that education leads to more entrepreneurial growth, less drug use and higher economic well-being. He indicated that the city should be careful about recruiting the right kind of industries and suggested that small business is a stronger force in town.
Aaron said the city and the county cannot continue to live in a "mutually exclusive" relationship and noted that the city is projecting strong deficits in the future. "I'm asking you, is that responsibility, is that qualifications? We are budgeted to fail," he said, noting that the city is budgeting based on future grants or growth. He asked the city to take responsibility and not to pass deficits on to the community's children.
Beach said the commission's role must expand beyond passing ordinances and managing government to giving people hope and inspiration. He said the commission spent three days trimming expenses in this year's budget, and future innovations can further cut cost. Beach also proposed that the city and county meet every year to address concerns, that the city should continue to work to curb drug abuse, and the mission statement of the Industrial Authority should be revised. "If you are real quiet, you can hear dollars being sucked out of this community," he said.