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West End Plaza, budget among topics on planning retreat agenda

For the first time in years, Rowan County commissioners will have a planning retreat, discussing topics such as the West End Plaza, bond ratings, the budget and long term goals, according to agenda documents.

The planning retreat will be two days — Thursday and Friday — taking up a significant portion of each day. Commissioners will meet from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. After adjourning, commissioners will have their twice-monthly meeting at the county government administrative building in downtown Salisbury. The meeting was originally scheduled for Monday, but was rescheduled.

On Friday, commissioners will meet from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The planning retreat is open to the public and will be held at the Frank T. Tadlock South Rowan Regional Library in China Grove.

Board of Commissioners Vice-Chairman Jim Greene mentioned multiple issues he’d expect to talk about during the retreat, including an Interstate 85 expansion, ensuring Rowan County’s various fire departments have adequate resources and the former Salisbury Mall, now called the West End Plaza.

“I can see some benefits in a retreat, as long as you know beforehand that you’re not voting,” Greene said. “It’s just preparing yourself for the times that the board will meet.”

Commissioner Judy Klusman, likewise, said the planning retreat could be valuable, but said she was focused on issues pertaining to families and children. She said child and family issues tie into education, which are just as important as economic development, a frequent topic among the new group of commissioners.

“We are going to be setting our goals and bringing all of our goals to the table go through a process,” Klusman said. “It’s going to help to identify what our top goals are, and then we’ll make that our year’s work.”

For the planning retreat, two separate agendas were released — one for each day. A lengthy period of time is set aside on Thursday for commissioners to discuss the former Salisbury Mall or West End Plaza. On Friday, discussion of budgeting is scheduled for 90 minutes.

The agenda for Thursday includes:

• From 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.: housekeeping and process: construction project; define rules of retreat, roles of participants and attendees

• From 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: laying groundwork: developing working statements of vision and mission; clarifying everyone’s roles

• From 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.: break

• From 9:45 to 11:30 a.m.: West End Plaza

• 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.: financing for West End Plaza, bond ratings and budget amendments

This portion of the planning retreat will be led by Finance Director Leslie Heidrick, according to the agenda.

• Noon to 12:30 p.m.: lunch

• 12:30 to 2 p.m.: individual goals and shared goals

• 2 p.m.: recess

The agenda for Friday includes:

• 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: housekeeping and process

• 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: best practices: board operations, board communications, budget building

• 10:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.: break

• 11 a.m. to noon: board priorities

• Noon to 12:30 p.m.: lunch

• 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: budget

This portion of the planning retreat will be led by County Manager Aaron Church, according to the agenda.

• 1:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.: smart objectives and identify a short-term action plan for staff

• 2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: break

• 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.: smart objectives and identify long-term plan for commissioners

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246



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