COLUMBIA — Instead of addressing specific issues, City Council members and department staff will be working on a strategic plan for the city at this year's council retreat.
Public Communications Director Toni Messina said the two-day meeting would be a "stepping-stone process" and council members and staff would be looking at "big picture" ideas that the council wants for Columbia.
"This is a way to unite all of our efforts so everyone understands what our top goals are," Messina said, adding that the strategic plan would affect budget decisions and future legislation.
In his May State of the City address, City Manager Mike Matthes said the council would be "breaking new ground" at this year's retreat by working on a strategic plan.
The weekend retreat will be held at the Activity and Recreation Center, following last year's example of being held within the city limits.
Traditionally, the retreat has been held outside of Columbia. Messina cited cost as a reason for the change.
"It was getting to be expensive to get a lot of people to the location and stay there for a couple of days," Messina said. "(The ARC) is not quite as formal as the City Council chambers, and it is big enough for the public to observe the meeting."
The retreat runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and continues from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.