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Speaking Out: Solidifying the Vision 

by League President and Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall

As you know, in August of last year the League began a Strategic Visioning process. Under the direction of the Board of Directors’, we have been working with the University of North Carolina School of Government on a strategic process to develop preferred future visions and scenarios for cities and towns in our state. We want to determine what actions are necessary for municipalities to achieve the vision they have designed and desire for success in the near future and beyond to 2030.

I want to provide an update on the visioning process. The official kick-off was at CityVision 2014, where futurist Rebecca Ryan set the stage and led sessions to help us think like futurists. The process continued by engaging city officials, strategic business community partners, legislators, county officials and other stakeholders in discussions to forecast possible scenarios for city government and determine what future roles and functions cities should play in helping move North Carolina forward.

From the beginning, the process has been bottom-up. At our most recent Board of Directors meeting, the School of Government and the Board’s Strategic Visioning Task Force presented vision statements and guiding principles that represent how municipalities will operate if they are to thrive into 2030.

The vision statements focused on the following areas: relationship of citizens to municipal government, leadership (political and administrative), infrastructure, authority and demographic patterns. Principles discussed include greater control over municipal revenues and structures, urban and rural communities working together, productive partnerships with counties, and demonstrating the value municipalities add to the quality of life.

In addition, the 10 challenges identify surround issues like citizens understanding the roles and responsibilities of municipalities, the restriction of municipal authority and demographic changes in the state.

At CityVision 2015, the concurrent sessions will each focus on one of the challenges. You can read more about CityVision here.

I want to thank the members of the Strategic Visioning Task Force, Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod, Cary Council Member Jennifer Robinson, Hope Mills Clerk Melissa Adams, Winston-Salem Council Member Denise Adams and Apex Human Resources Director Eleanor Green for their work on this process.

The next steps are to use this vision to develop an action plan. I know how passionate all League members are about the importance of municipalities and making sure we are well positioned moving to 2030 and beyond. I thank everyone for their efforts and commitment.