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Officials to discuss citys goals at retreat
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Gainesville officials are going down to the valley today.

They will emerge Saturday with direction for the rest of the year and a plan for the next fiscal year.

The Gainesville City Council will spend the next three days at Brasstown Valley Resort in Young Harris discussing the city’s goals and financial future with their city manager, assistant city manager, chief financial officer and city clerk. The council will also meet with the public utilities department to discuss the state of the utility.

Today, the discussion centers around city staff’s goals for the year, comparing the staff’s goals with those of the council. The council will also discuss the city’s financial picture — particularly the status of the current fiscal year’s budget and issues with next year’s budget — and Gainesville’s main capital projects, said Gainesville City Manager Bryan Shuler.

On Friday, the council will hear from officials in the public utilities department about the current financial situation.

Usually, the public utilities retreat focuses on future goals of the department, with talks of projects and funding for the next five years. Because of the drought and state-mandated cuts in water use, however, the public utilities portion of the retreat will focus its attention on the present, said Shuler.

"They’re going to spend a lot of time talking about where we are right now," Shuler said. "Because where we are right now we have a lot of challenges with because of the reduction in water sales ... and what financial implications that’s having."

"That has a direct effect on their capital program and what they can and can’t do going forward," Shuler said.

The public utilities department will share with the council its recommendations for capital improvement projects and share ideas on how to fund those projects.

The council will wrap up its retreat by noon Saturday, discussing the city’s top active construction projects and leaving city officials with marching orders for the rest of the year.