The Hickory City Council will hold its daylong annual retreat on Thursday, starting at 8:30 a.m. at the Workforce Solutions Center at 1980 Startown Road.
Council members will hear presentations and discuss big-picture issues such as demographic trends, housing, education and economic development.
The meeting comes at a time when the city is dealing with major pressures while also planning for big projects.
City administrators have spoken frequently in the last year about the effects of rising prices and difficulties attracting and retaining workers. In a presentation to the council last week, Deputy City Manager Rodney Miller spoke of concerns about a potential recession.
Hickory’s leaders are working to build a budget for the next fiscal year amid those challenges. The council must adopt a new budget by June 30, so discussion of the budget will be part of the program Thursday.
Miller alluded to some proposals for the upcoming budget, including a 3% increase in water and sewer rates and a cost-of-living adjustment for employees.
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At the same time, city leaders also are working with leaders from Appalachian State University to shape the new campus the school is planning to open in the fall of 2023.
Representatives from App State, Lenoir-Rhyne University and Catawba Valley Community College will take part in a panel discussing the future of higher education during the workshop.
Kevin Griffin is the City of Hickory reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.