Tooele City’s mayor and the city council participated in five public meetings within a four-week span from Feb. 7 through last Wednesday.
Meetings included three city council meetings, a town hall meeting and an eight-hour retreat for Mayor Debbie Winn and the city council on Saturday, March 3 at City Hall.
Both the town hall meeting and mayor-council retreat were new this year, according to Winn, who scheduled both events.
Only she and the council attended the retreat, although it was announced as a public meeting.
“The retreat was wonderful. It was a day of training and bonding for the mayor and council,” Winn said. “We all agree on the direction we need to go and what our priorities will be in the upcoming year.”
The mayor shared her vision of providing excellent customer service and the task of taking care of the members of the community as a top priority.
Council Chairman Steve Pruden said the shared vision of the mayor and council is to provide the most efficient government possible.
Councilman Dave McCall said each member of the council was able to share their vision for the upcoming year, and the meeting was beneficial.
“I think the main thing to come out of the meeting was the fact that we can work together as a council and mayor,” McCall said. “The mayor wants to have more of these retreats. We want to set a date next month for another retreat to work on the budget. The retreat was good. It’s the first time we’ve really been together as a group to discuss our feelings outside of regular city council meetings.”
Councilman Scott Wardle said the retreat was a great way for the council and mayor to get on the same page to open the lines of communication so that “we can tackle and talk about difficult issues and put us in a similar position on vision and unite our visions together.”
The first part of the retreat included budget reports, discussions of transparency, funding sources and contracts, according to the agenda. That was followed by the mayor and councilmembers discussing their priorities and vision.
Councilmember Melodi Gochis said the budget was only discussed briefly.
“We’re planning on another meeting to discuss more in depth the department budgets, requests, employee salaries and benefits,” Gochis said.
McCall said the mayor is focusing on transparency as the council works on the budget.
“It’s a big thing with Debbie. We want people to know how we spend the money,” McCall said.
The council and mayor heard budget requests from the public safety department last week, and will hear budget requests from the parks and recreation department at the March 21 city council business meeting.
Two more department budgets will be presented at council meetings in April.
Pruden said the council will use what they learned from the town hall meeting on Feb. 28 to create the budget.
The council has a May 2 deadline to adopt a tentative city budget. A final hearing and adoption of the budget is scheduled for June 20.