Valdosta Daily Times

March 15, 2013

City going on retreat this weekend

The Valdosta Daily Times

-- — Valdosta’s elected officials and department heads will convene this weekend at the Lenox River Ranch for their annual retreat.

Each year, the retreat gives them the opportunity to step away from the everyday business of running the city and discuss future plans and past issues. The mayor and each council member prepare a wish list of topics to discuss concerning their districts and the community as a whole, plus a laundry list of items that need their attention. High on that list will undoubtedly be the construction and replacement of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant, as it is long past due for an urgent discussion.

Also on the agenda is a sales tax discussion, a review of the hotel/ motel tax for a possible increase, and goal setting for the year.

At the end of the two-day retreat, on Saturday afternoon, the council will be joined by all of the city’s department heads for dinner, allowing for time together away from the city to discuss issues and simply get to know each other better. The city has two new department heads this year, a new police chief and a new human resources director.

While city officials have a great deal to tackle in the two days they’ve allotted, hopefully they will come to some consensus on the larger issues and perhaps pare down their individual wish lists in order for the cracks in the city’s infrastructure to be addressed.

Citizens are in the mood for open discussions on tackling the tough road ahead for water, sewer and related construction and maintenance issues, but appear to have little patience at this time for discussions about new parks, greenspaces, fountains, artwork, or sidewalks. Basic necessities trump non-essential services.