Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    City Council Set Goals—You’re Invited

    Asheville City Council is hosting a community goal setting forum tonight, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Randolph Learning Center located at 90 Montford Ave. Council members will use the community input to help determine goals and priorities during the city’s upcoming 2008-09 budget process.

    After a brief introduction, citizens will break into smaller focus groups. Citizens will be asked to talk about the community’s needs and what issues are most important to them.

    I recently asked the same questions over at the Mountain XPress online forum. I received a lot of interesting answers but none as compelling as this reply from a local author: “They [City Council] are, collectively, Asheville’s biggest problem. All other problems pale in comparison. In fact, without City Council, we’d have a great deal FEWER problems.” The poster went on to provide some sarcastic examples of City Council’s follies. Tongue-in-cheek or not, the comment illustrates an important point: It speaks to the broad, general contempt that many Ashevillians have toward City Council. Yet, here’s a golden opportunity to have your voice heard by Council leadership.

    It’ll be interesting to see how many good citizens bring their ideas to the table for consideration. And once they do, perhaps it’ll be even more telling to see what, if anything, comes of those ideas.

    During tonight’s focus group sessions, City staff will facilitate and record each group’s progress. Following the meeting, a summary report containing all input will be distributed to City Council members. The report will be available at

    City Council began hosting Goals for Asheville forums in January 2006 in order to gain citizen input on key initiatives. The series is part of City Council’s commitment to promoting inclusive decision making, which is included in Council’s strategic plan for Asheville.

    The meeting is open to the public, and parking is available at the school. Citizens who are unable to attend the forum may submit written comments to Trisha Hardin at by Jan. 31.