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City Council starts vision, mission statement drafts during its retreat

SALISBURY — City Council members began drafting a new vision and mission statement with residents’ input on the first day of their retreat Monday night.

Council members agreed to ditch the current and proposed mission statement for a briefer message that showcases the city.

The two statements will be on display during the retreat to be edited, discussed and agreed on by the conclusion of the retreat Tuesday.

Mayor Pro Tem David Post said the vision should be simple but powerful, giving examples such as Disney’s “The happiest place on earth” or Apple’s “Think different.”

The vision statement rough draft is: “An opportunity to thrive: Salisbury THE Place.” The statement is a tribute to a previous greeting at Salisbury’s train station.

Missy Ketterman, who moved to Salisbury in July, said she and her family were attracted to Salisbury because of its opportunities. Council members agreed the vision should showcase a city of opportunities.

Councilwoman Tamara Sheffield said it should be open to interpretation to allow people to define it personally.

“It’s up for the citizens to determine for themselves their vision for the city, so we don’t need to force what that should mean,” Sheffield said. “We should open up a door that says, ‘Hey this is place that has what I want.’”

Council members continued talks about incorporating a “live, work and play” aspect but using other terminology, like “green, healthy and prospering.”

There was an agreement that the new vision statement should be forward-thinking and say what the city hopes to accomplish and not what it already has, like the proposed vision statement, which begins with, “Salisbury is the most livable community in North Carolina.”

DeeDee Wright said the vision should also touch on the four colleges in the city.

The council moved to the mission statement, concluding with a draft stating, “Excellent public service: Purpose, passion, priority.”

Several residents who spoke said they were in favor of that mission statement.

Councilwoman Karen Alexander said the mission statement should show that the city works for its residents and the service should be effective, equitable and efficient.

“From what we do because we are also using taxpayer money from the same citizens, so we want to give them back that service and value,” Alexander said.

Mayor Al Heggins said she would like the mission statement to have warmth.

“We’re serving the people who are our neighbors,” she said.

The current mission statement begins with “To enhance Salisbury’s status as a great HISTORIC CITY that provides a safe, livable environment for present and future generations.”

Sheffield said although Salisbury is a historic city, it shouldn’t be at the forefront of the mission. She said a majority of people at Chit, Chat & Chew town halls said they were not in favor of keeping the word “historic.”

Alexander said when thinking about a slogan with the tourism department, history is a factor in drawing people to Salisbury, butshe  thinks if it’s included in the mission it should be coupled with a word that is forward-thinking, like “innovative.”

Whitney Peckman said she would like the vision and the mission statements to have diversity included since the community has asked for it to be included.

Facilitator Warren Miller of Fountainworks decided to table the conversations about the vision and mission statements to allow council members and the public to give it some thought and continue working toward a final version at Tuesday’s retreat session.

The City Council retreat will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Livingstone College Hospitality Center, 530 Jake Alexander Blvd. S.

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