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Topics for City Council retreat include broadband, economic prospects, housing

Agenda for City Council's retreat at Lee Street Theater

Thursday’s agenda:

8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.            Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.      Opening Remarks – Mayor Paul B. Woodson Jr, Invocation – City Clerk Myra Heard

8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.             Creating a Vision: 30 Years of Goal Setting – Interim City Manager John Sofley

9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.             Goals Review: A Year in Review – John Sofley

9:45 a.m. to 10:15a.m.      Back to Offense: Economic Prospects in Salisbury – DSI Executive Director Paula Bohland and Economic Development Executive Director Robert Van Geons

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Break

10:30 a.m. to 11:15.m.      Purposeful Partnerships – Dr. Latoya Dixon, Dr. Michael Waiksnis and Steve Clark

11:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.   Council Discussion: Trends and Factors for 2015 Priorities

11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.         Move to City Hall

12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.            Luncheon: When You Build It – Executive Director of Next Century Cities Deb Socia

1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.              Return to Retreat Location

2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.              Take it On – Deb Socia

3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.       Break

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.       Taking Fibrant to the Next Level – Fibrant Director Kent Winrich, Robert Van Geons

4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.       Discussion and Wrap up

4:45 p.m.                               Session Recessed until 10:30 a.m. Friday, February 20, 2015 at Lee Street Theater

Friday’s agenda:

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.        Coffee

10:30 a.m.                            Call to Order – Mayor Paul B. Woodson Jr., Invocation – City Clerk Myra Heard

10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.   Salisbury At the Speed of Light: Visioning for the Next Generation – Janet Gapen and Preston Mitchell

11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.          Neglected Housing: Next Step to Halt the Cycle of Decline – Janet Gapen, Barbara Perry, Chanaka Yatawara, Chris Branham

12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.           Lunch

1:30p.m. to 1:45 p.m.        Return to Retreat Location

1:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.       Recreating Tomorrow’s Health and Wealth – Terri Shaw, James Meacham

2:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.       Smart Meters: There is an App for That! – Jim Behmer, Jeff Jones, Jason Wilson

2:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.      Financial State of the City – John Sofley, Teresa Harris

3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.      Break

3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.            Setting 2015 Priorities (modify, delete or add)

4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.            Development of a One-Year Tactical Plan

4:30p.m. to 4:45 p.m.       Session Wrap Up and Exit Interview – Warren Miller

4:45 p.m.                              Session Adjourned

Salisbury City Council will hold its 30th annual retreat Thursday and Friday at Lee Street Theatre.

The retreat, called the “Future Directions and Goal Settings Conference,” is council’s chance to set priorities for the year. The public can attend the retreat, which will mostly be held at the theater at 329 N. Lee St.

This year’s retreat theme is “Telling Our Story.”

Mayor Paul Woodson said he’s excited about the retreat. It’s good to get the council members and city staff in one room to talk about different issues, he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell said planning for the city’s future is key.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there,” she said, borrowing a quote from Yogi Berra — the hall-of-fame baseball player who played for and later managed the New York Yankees.

A luncheon will be held at noon Thursday at City Hall where council will hear from Deb Socia, the executive director of Next Century Cities. The organization promotes municipalities with publicly owned broadband networks, such as Salisbury’s Fibrant.

Socia is the featured guest speaker for this year’s retreat. Council expects to hear her talk about how the city can use its fiber-optic network to attract businesses.

Woodson said Fibrant will be a big part of the retreat.

Also on Thursday afternoon, council will hear from Fibrant’s new director, Kent Winrich, and Robert Van Geons, the county’s executive director of economic development. Their discussion is titled “Taking Fibrant to the Next Level.”

Thursday morning, council will hear from Van Geons and Downtown Salisbury Inc. Executive Director Paula Bohland about the economic prospects for Salisbury.

On Friday, Janet Gapen and Preston Mitchell, with the city’s Planning Services, will lead a talk called “Salisbury at the Speed of Light: Visioning for the Next Generation.”

Gapen, the city’s planning director, will also be part of a group that speaks about neglected housing on Friday.

Councilwoman Karen Alexander, an architect, said she knows how vital planning is.

“If we don’t plan our future, someone else will,” she said.

The retreat is an opportunity to develop goals and policies that will guide the city for decades to come, she said, adding it’s important for the city to be ready when opportunities come along.

Also Friday afternoon, council will discuss its priorities for 2015 and hear a presentation on the financial status of the city.

Interim City Manager John Sofley has been with the city sine the late 1980s and said he has seen the retreat evolve over the years.

He said the retreat allows council to lay out a vision that city staff can work toward. The retreat lets staffers know what priorities the council is focused on, and they in turn can frame their work around those priorities.

The retreat begins with breakfast Thursday at 8 a.m. at Lee Street Theatre.

Contact Reporter David Purtell at 704-797-4264. 

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