The Solvang City Council is anxious to set goals for the city, and City Manager David Gassaway said Monday night he’s planning a retreat for council members in early June so they can talk about their vision.

Mayor Ryan Toussaint said he felt there was “frustration” at Monday’s meeting because the council still hadn’t talked about its goals or vision five months after it had been seated.

“Now we’re all the sudden talking June to even do some of these goals sessions,” Toussaint said. “And I think part of the frustration I’m hearing tonight is council wanting to go one way but not really having the best avenue to proceed getting those goals.”

Gassaway — who began his five-year term on April 8 — recommended a retreat at the council’s last meeting.

Council members were receptive to the idea and eager to get it scheduled.

Gassaway told the council Monday night that he was still looking for a facilitator for the retreat — only one of the three he contacted replied.

He said the facilitator would interview each council member before the retreat, so each would get an opportunity to list what he or she finds important for the city.

He said there’s typically a lot of overlap in what council members want.

“After that retreat what we would do is come back to you within some reasonable period of time to have basically an action plan that shows how we’re going to start working to address those items,” Gassaway said.

Councilman Chris Djernaes said the agenda should be reorganized so one section focuses on the council’s vision and policies.

“I think at this point we’ve gone through almost five months of agendas and I don’t recall really talking about anything that we wanted to talk about,” Djernaes said.

He said after the council’s vision has been determined, discussing different topics at each meeting would help citizens understand what the council is working for.

Toussaint said there is probably a better format for the agendas.

“You have a lot of things that come up on the agenda that’s just driven by staff,” he said. “But then you also have things on the calendar that’s going to be driven by the City Council, such as us here right now saying we would like something on the advance calendar.”

Gassaway said the amount of projects the city will be able to work on will also be determined by funding.

“Once the council starts to set your goals and you fund them through the budget process, that’s when we’ll start to put together work plans, and I’m a big fan of the workshop style,” Gassaway said. “But again, it’s all about how much financial capacity and staff capacity we have to run the variety of projects that this council wants that, unfortunately, you guys just haven’t talked about yet.”

The City Council also discussed setting goals for Gassaway.


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