HUNTERSVILLE – During their annual two-day planning retreat, commissioners analyzed and agonized over a multitude of prioritized topics including budgets, buildings, personnel and long-term planning. But they also spent time on a few smaller subjects leading to approved plans or potential future discussions.
Off a list Town Manager Anthony Roberts described as “low-hanging fruit” for commissioner consideration during the retreat, the board:
* Agreed to schedule public discussions about Commissioner Nick Walsh’s suggestion to change town elections and elected official terms. Walsh presented an outline that would create by-district representation on the town board – all commissioners are currently elected in town-wide votes – and staggered four-year or some other type of term system. All commissioners and the mayor currently serve two-year terms. The plan Walsh presented would require public hearings and a voter referendum. It would create a board with four district representatives and two at-large commissioners serving on a to-be-determined staggered-term basis to provide continuity on the board during potential post-election transitions.
* Initiated a plan to adjust their meeting time. In March, after required public notification is made, the board expects to start meetings, held the first and third Monday of each month at town hall, at 6 p.m. instead of the 6:30. Mayor John Aneralla suggested the change. The decision at the retreat came soon after, and just before, town board sessions that lasted 5 hours (Jan. 7) and 4-and-a-half hours (Feb. 4).
* Endorsed a plan for a software update for the town’s Human Resources Department. The upgrade, according to HR Director Vickie Brock, will allow for better data storage and access and simplify all aspects of employee record-keeping. There will also be a self-service module so employees can review and research records without assistance from the HR staff. Roberts said the task of uploading start-up data to the system may require an HR staff personnel addition.
* Approved plans for a town-organized spring clean-up in the Pottstown neighborhood. The town coordinated a similar effort last year in the Huntington Green community and will schedule and promote the Pottstown project to attract as many participants as possible.
* Began conversations about adding a public restroom building at the town’s new Veterans Park at Main & Maxwell. The park, with an events lawn, performance stage and a veterans monument, opened last year and portable bathrooms have been used during events. Parks and Recreation Department Director Michael Jaycocks said he is exploring options and costs for the new facility.
* Encouraged Jaycocks to proceed with discussions with representatives from the Carolina Rapids soccer club about a revised partnership to bring artificial turf fields to Barry Park. The town has a deal with Carolina Rapids involving fields at Bradford Park and the goal is to combine the long-term agreement and financial arrangement to cover four of the six fields at Barry Park with turf. In general terms discussed at the retreat, in exchange for scheduled preferential use of the fields, Carolina Rapids would reimburse the town for the $3.6 million invested in the upgrade.