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City planning retreat Saturday
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Representatives from the Carl Vinson Institute were to be in Richmond Hill Saturday to conduct a governmental retreat for the Richmond Hill City Council.
The idea was brought to the table last month by council member Marilyn Hodges "to ensure all the members were working on the same page and to discuss what direction the new mayor and council members wish to take."
Hodges and Jimmy Hires were the only incumbents remaining on council following November's election. Mayor Harold Fowler and council members Russ Carpenter and Van Hunter came aboard in January.
Hodges said she recalls when she first came on council and had many unanswered questions about things that were already in the works. She wanted the retreat to get everyone up to speed and improve the mayor and council's ability to work as a team.
"I think if we can find ways to work together despite our different views on policy, then this will definitely be worthwhile," Carpenter said. "And the Carl Vinson Institute is well renowned for staging these types of events, so I'm looking forward to that."
"Hopefully the person coming in can improve our ability to work as a team - not for us as individuals but for what is best for the citizens of Richmond Hill," Fowler said.
Hunter said it is a good opportunity "to see how we as individuals want to see the city grow over the next several years." He said it will also be an opportunity for the Wilderman Group, who manages the City Center, to have a "dry run" as they fine tune the workings of the new facility. Saturday was the first operating day of the Center.
According to the CVI Web site, its retreats are tools to help local officials "improve governance and operations by taking advantage of the Vinson Institute's instruction, services and publications. From training newly elected officials to guiding a city through an annexation study to publishing helpful resources like handbooks and research reports, the Vinson Institute provides the tools and support needed for local officials to get and keep the ball rolling in the right direction."
When the retreat was first brought up, during a council meeting last month, county resident Wayne Jackson called it "an awesome idea. The worst thing for the city right now would be to have a council that doesn't communicate with each other."
The Carl Vinson Institute of Government is an outreach program of the University of Georgia. The one day retreat comes at a cost of $1,050.
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