Davidson commissioners spent 2 1/2 days on retreat at a resort in Southern Pines last week and one of the immediate outcomes was another meeting on the board’s schedule. Beginning this Tuesday, Jan. 28, the board will hold a 4pm “pre-meeting” before its twice-monthly meetings, to discuss the agenda, listen to presentations and discuss upcoming issues.
The new sessions are public meetings, and will be held in the administrative conference room at Town Hall, 216 S. Main St. While they’re likely to mean marathon Tuesdays for both commissioners and board-watchers, town spokesman Cristina Shaul said Monday they’re aimed at making the board more efficient.
“I think we’re trying to be more efficient and more productive,” she said.
“We’re realizing that our board members are super busy and they may not always get all the details by reading a Powerpoint we send them. We see a benefit of having everybody together in one room, and explaining everything at once. It seems to work really well,” she added.
In the past, commissioners met in smaller groups with town staff, for briefings about upcoming town issues and the agenda. Those meetings were private. Last year, the board began meeting as a group at Town Hall on the first Tuesday of every month, to hear presentations and discuss long-term issues. Those first-Tuesday meetings will continue, along with the new “pre-meetings.”
Commissioners expect to use the meetings to hear presentations and “talk about things that are coming down the pike in a few weeks.”
WORK SESSION TUESDAY
At Tuesday’s work session, commissioners will begin discussing the 2014-15 town budget. The agenda also includes an update on finances at the town owned MI-Connection Communication System, a fire department update and a presentation by the town attorney on local government ethics rules.
The meeting begins at 6pm at Town Hall, 216 S. Main St. See the full agenda on the town website.
RETREAT AT SOUTHERN PINES
Last week, the board spent 2 1/2 days at Mid Pines Inn, in Southern Pines, which is about a 2-hour drive east of Davidson. The session ran Wednesday through midday Friday, Jan. 24, with sessions on team-building and commissioners’ visions for the town. Shaul said Monday the board did not discuss goals or any other specific issues.
The meeting cost taxpayers about $12,200, not including mileage for commissioners and staff who drove their own cars to the meeting. That included $7,650 for the Mid Pines Inn, and $4,500 for a facilitator (at a rate of $1,800 a day) who helped guide the board’s discussions.
(The board considered two other sites, also outside of the area, Shaul said: Graylyn in Winston-Salem (cost $9,946) and the Washington Duke Inn in Durham ($10,968).)
Shaul said no minutes are available yet for the meeting. “We’ll be pulling together the minutes and creating a document that shows the new board’s preliminary look at their goals for the next two years,” she said in an email. While the board typically sets goals in September, this board, including new members Stacey Anderson and Beth Cashion, is to meet again in March to work on goals.
See the full agenda for the retreat in our Jan. 21 preview, “Town Board heads to retreat at Southern Pines.”
PUBLIC FORUM ON PARKS & REC MASTER PLAN
Town officials have begun work developing a Davidson Parks & Recreation Master Plan, appointing a steering committee to lead the effort, and hiring Charlotte consultant LandDesign. The committee plans a public forum on town Parks & Rec activities and facilities on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7pm, at Town Hall, 216 S. Main St.
The town invites “residents, business owners, open space and trails advocates, sports groups, recreation enthusiasts, and other interested parties … share ideas.
“We want to hear from as many people as possible during this process,” Parks & Recreation Manager Kathryn Spatz said in a press release. “There’s an interest in preserving open space and developing more active space, such as fields and tennis courts, so our goal is to create a master plan that meets our community’s needs.”
Here’s more from the town announcement:
Our parks and recreation system is a reflection of the community’s long-held values and support for parkland, green space, fitness and wellness. Today’s system of urban parks, trails, programs, athletic facilities, and large parcels of natural space is a major contributor to Davidson’s high quality of life and the result of community support and investment. For over 30 years, the Town of Davidson has promoted the community’s access to nature, health, and wellness in the areas of parks and recreation. Our parks and recreation programs are focused around the seven dimensions of wellness: physical, social, environmental, intellectual, spiritual, emotional and occupational.
The town’s core values that relate to this project are:
- Citizens need to move easily throughout the town and region, so government will provide a variety of options, such as sidewalks, bike paths, greenways, connected streets, and transit.
The physical, social, and intellectual wellbeing of Davidson citizens is fundamental to our community, so town government will provide and encourage enjoyable, safe, and affordable recreational and cultural lifelong learning opportunities.
This quarter, the Parks and Recreation Department, with the guidance of Charlotte-based consultant LandDesign, will conduct a parks, recreation, open space, and trails needs assessment. Citizen participation at the forum is critical to information gathering. The needs assessment will provide a preliminary evaluation of the community’s current needs and demands, expected growth, and potential impacts on future services related to open space, parks, recreation, and trails.
“In addition to looking at the needs in Davidson, we’ll also look at the region to see where we can partner with the county and neighboring towns to preserve land or create active space that our citizens will be able to use,” said Spatz.
Please contact Kathryn Spatz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 704-940-9644, visit our website at www.townofdavidson.org/DPRmasterplan for more information.