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Castalia board reviews goals at recent retreat
CASTALIA - Castalia Commissioners met with mayor Elene Leonard for a six hour retreat held at Gardner's Restaurant on Saturday, February 3. Commissioners reviewed the goals set at last year's retreat and the progress made on those goals. They also carefully examined current employee policies and proposed possible changes to be discussed at regular business meetings in the future.

Mayor Leonard said she was pleased at the number of last year's goals that had been accomplished. Castalia has started a website and a newsletter to better communicate with its citizens. Commissioners discussed suggestions for improvements to the content of both the website and the newsletter. However, Commissioner James Alston expressed concern that people did not seem yet aware of them. "I suppose it will take time," he said. "But is seemed as if a lot of the people at the public forums we held were not yet aware of these things."

The appearance of the interior of the Town Hall has been vastly improved, though the mayor and some commissioners expressed a desire to work on some of the exterior elements. In addition to painting and remodeling, the mayor has put historical photos of old Castalia and Nash County on the walls and set up a checkers set in the office lobby. "It looks better than I have ever seen it," commented Commissioner Melissa Joyner. "It is homey and comfortable."

"I have gotten a lot of positive comments and interest in the photos," Leonard said. "I would like to set up a mini museum in the lobby where people can bring historical items from the community and put them on display for the public for a while."

Castalia has also started to welcome newcomers to the community. Mayor Leonard said that she and Commissioner James Alston had gone to visit all the new residents last year, taking them a tin of cookies and a Nash County Guide, published by the Nashville Graphic. Newcomers names are also now mentioned in the bi-monthly newsletter sent out with the water bills.

Last year, commissioners had set as a goal finding a use for a metal building on the town's property. This year, the building is being used to house supplies for the newly-formed Disaster Relief Team currently chaired by Ken Rice.

"This was a new idea we did not have last year, but one that is a real asset to the community," Leonard commented. Commissioner Eva Rice said that the Disaster Relief Team now had lined up people to accomplish certain tasks in case of an emergency and had gathered supplies such as cots, blankets, and basic necessities. Rice also said that an account had been set up to receive donations to the Disaster Team and that they were looking also for donations of food, paper products, and shelving units for the storage facility. The Disaster Relief Teams plans to host an Open House on Saturday, February 24th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Leonard also discussed other goals that had not yet been accomplished. She said that the town wanted to pursue getting high-speed Internet connections, but understood that the county was currently exploring the issue. The mayor also said that she had someone doing a survey of some of the streets in need of repair and they should have an estimate on repairs at the next regular business meeting. By then, Leonard also hopes to hear something from the engineers at Mack Gay regarding the feasibility and projected costs of sewer line installation.

In other business, commissioners spent several hours reviewing current employee regulations and suggesting improvements to the current document. They also worked on outlining the regular duties of the water operator, an issue that has caused confusion for some time. These issues will be brought up in future meetings and a final decision on these matters will be reached at that time.

Commissioners did not have enough time at the retreat to discuss the recent community visions outlined in the recent public forums. However, they do plan to discuss them at a special called meeting at an undetermined date in the future.

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