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City Council identifies top priorities, actions

NEWTON, NC (Feb. 19, 2013) – The Newton City Council held its annual planning workshop from Wednesday to Friday at the Newton Depot. Throughout the three-day workshop, the Council heard from staff members and participated in a visioning exercise.

The workshop opened with a mid-year financial report and review of the capital improvement plan for Fiscal Year 2013. Representatives from Catawba County Economic Development Corporation delivered a presentation on current economic realities and emerging trends. And Newton Business Advisory Committee Chairman John Stiver provided an update on the wayfinding signage program and shared a presentation on commercial development.

On Thursday, the Council engaged in a day-long brainstorming and visioning exercise, which culminated on Friday morning with the identification of the Council’s top priorities and actions. Private consultant David Long of Greensboro facilitated the exercise. Long has assisted more than 400 organizations in conducting retreats and workshops.

“We appreciate Mr. Long’s expertise and impartiality in guiding the City Council through a very successful visioning exercise,” Mayor Anne P. Stedman said. “We were able to create and prioritize a list of projects and ideas for Newton that maintains our traditions yet addresses our growing needs.”

The Council discussed several broad themes including public safety, economic development, infrastructure, finances, appearance, downtown, quality of life and core values. Of the 22 initiatives within those themes, the City Council identified building a new fire department, continued fiscal responsibility, water line expansion and increasing the tax base as the top priorities and actions.

City staff will delve deeper into the themes and priorities, assess their feasibility and provide recommendations to the Council in the coming year.