MINT HILL – Mayor Brad Simmons and town commissioners returned from a weekend retreat in Hickory with ideas of keeping citizens engaged, ranging from launching a 10-year plan to allowing developers to present proposals more frequently.
Leaders plan on letting citizens decide on the November ballot whether to extend term limits for board members from two years to four years, as well as stagger terms so the community can elect two commissioners per election.
“This particular year, we had almost a full turnover of the board of commissioners, so you have to get a little concerned about continuity,” Simmons said during the Feb. 13 meeting.
Voters elected a new mayor in Simmons and two new commissioners in Patrick Holton and Tony Long to the five-member board in 2019. However, there were enough candidates for a complete overhaul if voters desired.
The board talked a lot during the retreat about launching a 10-year plan.
“We have started pulling some information together to get ready to send out RFPs,” Simmons said, adding they’ll narrow the field down to two or three companies to give presentations for the board before deciding on who to work with.
The board has traditionally allowed developers an opportunity to share proposals at quarterly workshops, but leaders want to make these monthly. The workshops allow leaders to give feedback on projects prior to public hearings.
“It gives you more opportunities to have input on what’s going on,” Simmons said.
The board is also looking at steaming meetings. Simmons said it will probably take at least two months to iron out some of the details, such as getting the right equipment and deciding how and where to stream the meetings.
“It’s a lot easier for you to stream the meeting with your cell phone sitting right there than it is for us to start that process,” Simmons said, noting there are legalities the town has to consider.
The board will also launch a steering committee of citizens that want to be involved.