Pickerington on way to passing budget, but not without debate
Pickerington is on its way to passing the 2010 budget, but some items within the budget are sparking debate between community leaders and residents.
Resident Mike McKinley disagrees with the Pickerington city council decision to spend $10,000 on a retreat for its members.
At its Dec. 1 meeting, council passed the first two readings of the 2010 budget, which included the money for a retreat.
McKinley suggested that the council could hold the retreat in the Pickerington Public Library for free.
The city could spend the money on better projects like sidewalks, McKinley said.
Councilman Jeff Fix said that last year the council met for free at the Police Department for its retreat.
The cost is to pay a facilitator, Fix said.
At the first retreat held last summer, the council reviewed the results of a resident survey, Fix said.
After 20 hours of discussion, the council created a strategic plan to address the resident concerns, Fix said.
At the 2010 retreat, council will refine the strategic plan to help city workers easier recognize when one of the plan's many goals has been met, Fix said.
"We want the staff to be very clear on what success looks like," Fix said.
The general fund budget for 2010 totals $7.5 million.
Finance Director Linda Fersch said council allotted $350,000 for street improvements.
The city will borrow $2.2 million to build a new water tower, Fersch said.
A total of $92,000 will be allotted for a new development director.
Pickerington has been without a development director since April 2008 when Tim Hansley left the role to become city manager.