STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
GRANITE SHOALS — City of Granite Shoals officials are preparing for the annual budget retreat, but they’re adding a new element to this year’s agenda.
The retreat is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, May 19, at the Granite Shoals Community Center, 1208 N. Phillips Ranch Road.
“We’ll get an update on where we stand on priorities with the City Council,” City Manager Ken Nickel said. “But the real meat of the issue, when we’re talking about the 2017-18 priorities, we also want to look ahead two or three years down the road.”
The new twist this year is officials are looking for residents to get involved in the retreat. The City Council has set several time periods aside for residents to directly participate.
City officials are inviting residents to give their input and ask questions from 9:15-9:30 a.m., 11:15 a.m.-noon, and 3:30 p.m-4 p.m. It is an open meeting, so the public can attend the entire retreat and are not just restricted to the above times, but these are public comment sections.
“It’s a day for citizens to come out,” Nickel said. “The council was adamant about inviting them to come down during the day. They are very much looking for ways to open up and have citizens come to talk to our council folks.”
Nickel said the meeting doesn’t bore down into costs of budget items; it’s simply a chance for residents to give their opinions on what city officials should prioritize for the next three years.
“We want to get info on the ideas,” Nickel said. “It’s a time for folks to talk about certain things.”
He envisions getting feedback on street repairs, water lines, and other concerns in a setting that’s not as formal as a council meeting or as informal as the recent Coffee with the Council, where residents talked to council members about various policies, ordinances, and goals over coffee.
The reason Nickel carved out specific times for the residents to address council members and city staff is because officials have a lot to address and talk about in a short amount of time, he said.
Nickel also will revisit the priorities list from 2016 to update council members on what was accomplished, what is in progress, and what employees are still working on.
Last year’s list included:
- road improvements
- water supply improvement
- the execution of current grants, closing them out whenever possible, and aggressively pursuing new grant opportunities
- continuing to provide a safe community
- facility improvements
- increasing code compliance by 15 percent over the 2015-16 goals
- maintaining and improving the city’s financial stability
- hiring and maintaining a strong workforce
- maintaining or improving citizen communications