2014 is in the rear view mirror. While much was accomplished and we’re proud of what we got done, nonetheless, everyone on staff at New Hanover County is focused on 2015 and the future.
2015 opens up new opportunities – the county has a new board with its own priorities. The chairman is framing a continued focus on economic development and job creation as a priority but he is also including a renewed focus on [public] education. In my mind education is the traditional primary and secondary function we serve through funding the public school and charter school systems but also the post-secondary role we have with the community college and an ever-developing relationship with the university. My focus, and what I’ll do every day, will be positioning the organization to accomplish these and other clearly articulated board priorities.
The first 3 months of 2015 will have the county administration fully committed to developing a budget recommendation for the county commission to debate through the spring. Through public discourse of the board itself and via staff meetings with commissioners, we’ll develop a sense of what will rise to the top of the 2015-2016 budget, which becomes effective in six months on July 1, 2015.
Beyond the county’s budget for next fiscal year, some other big things I believe you’ll see the board address in the first 6 months of the year include: 1) a work session with the city to discuss continued implementation of the Garner Report (economic development); 2) a work session with the city to discuss fire service delivery through a consolidate service model; 3) a board priority-setting retreat that looks forward through 2017 to include a report-out of the community survey completed in late 2014); 4) consideration of the county’s first comprehensive development plan that will guide service policy decisions for the next 20 years, and so many other important things that directly affect this great place we call home.
I hope you’ll check out this blog regularly in 2015 – it’s my goal to communicate regularly and effectively with our community.