DAVIDSON — A recent board retreat proposed new meetings, greenways expansion, reinstatement of leaf collection and ideas to improve MI-Connection.
Davidson commissioners, with some town staff and department leaders, met for their retreat Jan. 22-24 in Southern Pines to set goals, discuss projects and catch new commissioners up to speed.
One of the newest changes is the addition of a pre-meeting, held at 4 p.m. prior to board work sessions and town board meetings the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
Public Information Officer Cristina Shaul explained the town manager will use the time to give last-minute details on the night’s agenda or report items that may be coming down the pike such as economic development or planning.
“It’s a way to have all of the board in one room to talk about things,” Shaul said of the new meetings. “The reason it’s beneficial is it makes us more efficient. A lot of times they have presentations during town board meetings. We can have the presentation during the pre-meeting then go through the presentation at the board meeting in a speedier fashion. It expedites decision-making and will help us be able to ask questions and get more data for the future meetings.”
Shaul said pre-meetings may also be used for closed session discussions, instead of tacking them to the end of the meetings.
“We studied other local municipalities and they all seem to have the pre-meeting and have found it beneficial as well,” she said. “We see the real value in it.”
The board also looked at finding ways to enhance and expand MI-Connection, the cable and Internet system, owned and funded by the towns of Davidson and Mooresville.
Among the ideas was to extend the services to the Summers Walk neighborhood. They also want to have a joint meeting with Mooresville commissioners to brainstorm ways to use it as advertising for the area.
“We also want to use it as an economic development tool to get more business and commercial development to come to Davidson because we have this product we can offer them with really great service, great pricing and is turn-key,” Shaul said. “We have good operations and can build infrastructure quickly.”
Other development endeavors are looking to find someone to build a conference center in town to bring people to the area and enhancing parks and recreation.
Shaul said one of the commissioners worried parks may be underutilized and wanted to find ways to improve them through greenways, or athletic fields.
Much of what the board discussed will need to be taken into account during budget discussions.
Those include looking at the Comprehensive Plan and the Active Transportation Plan, reinstating town leaf collection that was stopped during the economic downturn, helping town nonprofits through funding and stipends and considering town hall expansion.
Shaul said the town hall is crowded with limited office space. Plus, the town has been advised to have its firefighters living in the fire station rather than in an apartment across the street.
Other discussions were continuing the community chats around town on the fifth Tuesday of the month for residents to share concerns, rewriting the planning ordinance and continuing focusing on health and wellness.
Topics discussed during the retreat haven’t been officially adopted.
Shaul said the board plans to meet in March and September to narrow down goals and issue timelines.
Want to get involved? Davidson commissioners have approved a new town board schedule. Most meetings are held in the Davidson Town Hall, 216 S. Main St.
The schedule is as follows:
• First Tuesday of the month, 4:30 p.m. group meeting to give department updates in the town hall meeting room.
• Second Tuesday of the month, 4 p.m. pre-meeting in the administrative conference room, 6 p.m. regular town board meeting in meeting hall.
• Fourth Tuesday of the month, 4 p.m. pre-meeting in the administrative conference room, 6 p.m. work session in meeting hall.
• Fifth Tuesday of the month, community meetings with times and locations to be announced.