A healthy and constructive discussion among Aiken City Council members during its Monday work session led to a variety of goals being laid out for the public to hear.
The council members ran with ideas given by city staff during prior presentations as well as reports and attempted to set priority goals to guide city staff to help with the budget process.
Council also considered the AECOM Strategic Economic Development Action Plan the city had adopted.
The purpose of the work session was for council to supply goals for staff as the city looks to prepare a budget for FY 2020-21.
The council will want to continue with no millage increase in the budget, which isn’t unusual, as the millage has not been raised since 1989, City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said in a Monday morning email.
“Hopefully, we will come out of this with a road map that will help with budgeting process…,” Mayor Rick Osbon said before the work session.
Topics discussed included, among other things, the water plant, annexation, infrastructure, streets that haven’t been paved “in some time,” parks and the idea of hiring a chief of staff for the city manager.
Councilwoman Lessie Price, who is the mayor pro tem, said she doesn’t know that “we have” a solid plan for how the city is going to develop the west, north and east side of town.
Price said, with annexation, the thought was to target a specific area. There is so much infrastructure City Council needs to work on, Price also noted.
Additionally, Councilwoman Kay Brohl said the city needs to have maintenance and funding for water and sewer as well as for parks.
“We’re proud of our parks and recreation…,” Brohl said.
Bedenbaugh, at the work session, noted he had spoken to council and had gotten feedback in writing.
Bedenbaugh got an email from Councilwoman Gail Diggs, who wasn’t at Monday’s work session. She would like to see more things at Generations Park.
Additionally, the mayor said they have had what he’d call “really stellar” marketing plans come before council in the last six months.