Council to work on 2002 goals at sack lunch

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— The city's new priorities for 2002 could be a good deal more concrete than the ones they adopted last year.

The City Council will attempt to redefine its priorities today at a brown bag lunch at Centennial Hall at noon. The public is invited.

As opposed to more open-ended priorities such as "Engage the community in discussions about tax, revenue and expenditure options," the city may pinpoint more specific goals like establishing a multijurisdictional housing authority and adopting a citywide code of ethics.

Councilman Steve Ivancie said he thinks the city can use last year's goals to help them figure out how to proceed.

"We can take what they've done and build on it," he said. "I believe that's what we're trying to do for 2002."

City Manager Paul Hughes proposed the goals being discussed based on discussions the council has had in recent months, including joint city-county meetings in which the two bodies vowed to collaborate.

The proposed goals may have more definitive ends but they are no less ambitious than last year's.

Take, for instance, the idea of discussing consolidation with Mount Werner Water again. That goal was all but dropped after consolidation failed the first time, but the new council may be ready to get back to the negotiating table.

The biggest roadblock to establishing priorities has been the lack of revenues to pay for the goals. The city has been planning for the worst since Sept. 11, making sure that they complete the nuts and bolts of government before looking to make big plans for the future. Now, however, some council members think they can look past the current economic slowdown while still taking heed of the economic situation.

Ivancie said he is cautiously optimistic about the state of the budget.

"We're doing OK compared to what it could've been," Ivancie said.

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