Concerns of citizens welcomed for retreat

Jan. 17, 2013 @ 04:50 PM

Henderson’s council members are welcoming input from residents about what should be added to their deliberations at the annual council retreat Wednesday.

Henderson Mayor Pete O’Geary said the public is welcome to attend the daylong series of discussions at the Aycock Recreation Center on Carey Chapel Road. The council will center discussions on city planning, budgets, projects, priorities and areas of concern.

To get some points to the table, since the meetings are not like public hearings, residents are advised to get word to their council member of choice, perhaps their ward representative, before Wednesday.

“I do ask people about their concerns through the year,” Ward 3 Councilman Garry Daeke said. “It would be great to hear more from people. I am listed in the phonebook, and am usually within earshot — or if not, I’ll get back with people.”

Daeke, whose home phone number is (252) 438-7215, believes all the council members can be found listed in the phonebook, and people can also call the offices at City Hall at (252) 430-5700.

O’Geary said the purpose of the retreat is to focus on issues and concerns within the community and municipal organization and to address them, via consensus, by developing action plans.

There will also be a report from City Manager Ray Griffin on the status of the city’s published Strategic Plan Document, and how its various action plans are being achieved.

Ward 4 Councilman Vernon Brown said he is on a learning curve this time at the council retreat, his first, so he would bring his own questions to the table as well as concerns from others if they contact him at (252) 492-7409, his home number.

“I am still new to a lot of this,” Brown said.

Sara Coffey, the at-large councilwoman for Ward 1, said she welcomes input from residents across ward lines as well as having a point of view from being a Ward 1 resident herself.

“I look forward to any input from others, but so far I haven’t heard any,” she said. “I have no problem with people calling me at my cell phone,” at (252) 767-3187, she added.

“It is through the development and implementation of a strategic plan the we are able to move forward in addressing key issues,” O’Geary said.

O’Geary said a list of successes emanate from following a strategic plan:

• Crime rates down three years running.

• Upgrades to the Henderson Water Reclamation Facility are expected to start in March.

• Negotiations continue on the state’s inter-basin transfer permit process needed to double the water plant’s daily production capacity.

• Two Hope VI grant-funded housing developments are complete on Garnett Street.

• An economic development focus produced strong partnerships with Vance and Granville counties for ongoing efforts to bring in new businesses and industries.

• Achievements include Vescom, Semprius and Thermo-King.

• The general fund balance for Henderson grew despite a recession.

According to O’Geary, the main points for discussion this year include:

• Economic development and continued development of jobs and business regionally and downtown.

• A five-year capital improvement plan.

• Flint Hill redevelopment.

• One-stop permitting with the county.

• Balancing the fiscal year 2014 budget without tapping into the general fund balance

• Recycling.

Daeke said matters of concern he has heard from Ward 3 residents include blighted neighborhoods, crime, traffic congestion and no tax hikes.

As in past years, Becky Veasey, president of Management and Personnel Services Group, will serve as facilitator. Veasey has worked with the city since 2008, O’Geary said.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.