Council annual retreat to be held Friday, Saturday

City officials are mulling a $100,000 traffic study for Welburn Avenue in Gilroy.

Solving gang problems, revitalizing downtown and preparing for a
high-speed rail project are several of the approximately 40 topics
the Gilroy City Council is expected to discuss during its annual
goal-setting session, held today and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
in the Gilroy Police Department Community Room.
Solving gang problems, revitalizing downtown and preparing for a high-speed rail project are several of the approximately 40 topics the Gilroy City Council is expected to discuss during its annual goal-setting session, held today and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Gilroy Police Department Community Room.

The retreat is open to the public.

Mayor Al Pinheiro said the session was different from a regular Council meeting because of its “freestyle” format.

“No. 1, it’s an exchange of ideas, whereas we usually just provide direction or report on certain things,” Pinheiro said.

Some items might spark prolonged conversation and become study session or agenda items at future Council meetings, Pinheiro said.

Other topics might incite little interest and disappear, he said.

The session’s agenda is broken up into several goals: public safety, recreation, city services, finances, building safety and environmental stewardship.

The Council is expected to discuss, among other items, the Gilroy Unified School District’s involvement in resolving gang issues, water and sewer rate policies, ideas to revive downtown and even a plastic bag use ordinance.

City Administrator Tom Haglund said the purpose of the session is to identify how the topics will fit into the Council’s overall vision for the city.

“Years come and go, but the goals remain a constant,” he said.

This year’s session will have a twist to it, as two Council members, Woodward and Dion Bracco, have already announced 2012 mayoral bids.

Don Gage, former Gilroy Mayor and current Santa Clara County Water District Board director, said the Council should use to session to learn to put aside personal differences.

Gage, who served on the Council from 1981 to 1993, said Council goal-setting sessions back then were less contentious. Gage said the session should give the current Council a chance to learn how to work out any disagreements.

“It wasn’t as nasty back then as it is now,” Gage. “I just think there’s more pressure on them today.”

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