LAURINBURG — Scotland leaders began working on a “road map” Thursday to help determine where the county may be in a decade and beyond.
The Scotland County Board of Commissioners meet at the Small Business Innovation Center to hear a presentation on the strategic planning by Margaret Henderson from the University of North Carolina School of Government School of Government.
“There is not just one way to create a strategic plan,” Henderson told commissioners. “It is a lot like planning a wedding — do you want an intimate affair or do you want the party of the century?”
Henderson, who serves as a lecturer at the School of Government, said it would be important to involve the public in the planning. That would increase public understanding as to why certain projects may not be feasible or affordable, according to Henderson.
A resident may be able to say that the county “didn’t do what I wanted, but they did explain to me why they didn’t do it,” Henderson said.
But Henderson said that co-creating strategic plans with the community could end up costing a more money because that process might be longer and more arduous.
County Commissioner Bob Davis asked what was the best method for getting residents involved. Henderson said many municipal governments are hiring public information officers to help with managing social media and other creative ways to reach the public.
The workshop is the first step in the helping the county establishing what its strategic goals may be.
“It is important to have so kind of idea of where we want to be 10 or 15 years down the road,” said Whit Gibson, vice chair of the board of commissioners.
Carol McCall, board chair said it seems like the board is constantly “putting out fires” instead of developing strategies.
“I feel like as board, we are goal oriented and future oriented,” McCall said. “I think we need to do a better job of making a plan and working towards the future.”
As part of that process, the board needs to develop drafts of a vision statement and goals, according to Henderson. She also explained the planning process would need at least two full days for all the commissioners to go on a retreat and develop the strategic plan.
“Make decisions to invest resources in such a way to further the priority goals,” Henderson said.
But the county has a limited budget — about $5,000 budgeted for strategic planning, according to County Manager Kevin Patterson.
“We have limited resources and we already are at a high tax rate,” said Commissioner Guy McCook.
Reach Nolan Gilmour at 910-506-3171