RALEIGH: City Council retreat costs raising questions - WNCN: News, Weather

Raleigh City Council retreat costs raising questions

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

The Raleigh City Council is planning a three-day retreat that could cost taxpayers more than $16,000.

The trip to Wilmington would cost $16,241 and take place Jan. 29-31, according to an estimate the city manager gave council members.

It would include hotel accommodations for 20, likely at the Hilton Riverside Hotel.  Also included are meal expenses and the hiring of an outside facilitator at a cost of $4,900.

Some members of the council, including new City Manager Ruffin Hall, say the trip is necessary to clear heads and improve communication between city leaders.

"The proposal to go out of town is based on an opportunity to allow the mayor and the council and the staff to really get away from the typical distractions in any given day and give us a chance to focus on strategic planning," Hall said.

However, not all council members are on board.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin told said the council should strongly look at cheaper alternatives closer to home.

"My preference would be to stay in town," she said, adding transparency and convenience as the main reasons.

The city manager did price some retreat locations in other areas locally, and in Charlotte. He deemed the Wilmington location to be the best.

Previous retreats have cost less than the current estimate.

The trip is not currently on the council's agenda for next Tuesday's meeting, however, if demanded, the council could propose a vote on the issue. 

Hall said a vote is required on the trip.

Jonathan Carlson

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