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Salisbury City Council meets to further discuss goals, vision, mission

SALISBURY — The Salisbury City Council met for about five hours Wednesday afternoon to continue what they started at their March retreat.

The meeting began with Warren Miller of Fountainworks Facilitation and Management Consulting reminding council members of the goals they and community members brainstormed at their retreat.

Warren focused on the three areas that the council categorized as most important — economic initiatives and downtown development, community development and youth initiatives.

Within each of those three focus groups, Warren presented the concepts that council members had cited as most valuable.

The economic initiatives and downtown development category included efforts such as completing a comprehensive parking study for the municipal service district and exploring incentives to encourage the use of downtown commercial space.

Some points were allocated to specific city departments or committees, like Downtown Salisbury Inc. and the Human Relations Council.

The community development category included efforts such as creating opportunities for sustainable civic engagement and studying the creation of an investment fund that the Rowan IDEA Center could be involved with implementing.

In some cases, verbs like “study” were brought under scrutiny by council members.

When discussing the point “seeking to improve fair housing policies and programs,” which was categorized under community development, Councilwoman Tamara Sheffield asked what it means to “seek.”

“Because then next year, we could just say, ‘Yeah, we looked,’” Sheffield said.

In the end, the council decided to rephrase the point so the responsibility for improving fair housing policies and programs was put on the Housing Advocacy Commission, Human Relations Council and Community Development Corp.

“We basically say, ‘This is your job. You are to coordinate that and we want some sort of report back about what it is you’re doing to promote fair housing,’” Councilman Brian Miller said.

The youth initiatives category was eventually moved under the community development category because council members agreed that a well-educated youth is important to community development efforts.

Vision and mission

Warren also had the council consider its vision and mission statements by reminding members of the concepts and values they and residents came up with during the retreat.

“One group came up with the vision statement, ‘The most livable home on Earth,’” Warren said. “The other group came up with elements of a vision but not a vision statement. So really, those things that are important.”

Mayor Pro Tem David Post brought copies of the city’s original vision and mission statement for council members to compare with the ideas brainstormed during the retreat.

After reading both, Post and Councilwoman Karen Alexander said they liked the original statements better.

“It talks about livability. It talks about neighborhood revitalization, which your list does not talk about,” Post said. “I think when you mess with mission statements, you’ve got to be careful. That’s not a thing you want to do every year.”

“I think that when I look at this (new statement), my reaction to this is that it looks like an advertising promo. It does not use enough words to convey what we are as a community,” Alexander said.

Both said they would be open to adding things that aren’t in the old mission statement from the new list.

Mayor Al Heggins said a vision statement should be “something that is clear and understandable and speaks to what we aspire to be.”

No new vision or mission statements were written and no goals were completed at Wednesday’s meeting.

Warren said the purpose of bringing them up Wednesday was just to get a “pulse check” on how council members felt about the things they discussed at their March retreat.

Look for more coverage of the council meeting in Friday’s Post.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.

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