"The transparency of it all is what's it's about."
That's how Moore County Board of Commissioners Chairman Nick Picerno characterized the purpose of a day-long "Critical Issues Summit" held on Thursday, September 19.
"I want our government board to be totally transparent," Picerno said. "I want people to know what we are thinking before we actually pull the trigger on anything. That way, they don't have to wonder, 'What are they up to now?' If you'd read the papers, you'd know what we were up to, because we're out here discussing it in the open."
"I don't want it to be a surprise if we set up a capital reserve for school construction. I want that to be out in the open, I want it to be discussed, I want our members to think about it. I want all these things to be laid out, so that everybody know where we are going. It's not a guessing game."
"If it's a dumb idea, I expect them to tell me . . . at least we threw it out on the table for an open discussion, in an open forum, Where everybody's in here, including the press."
True to his word, Picerno did lay a few brand new ideas on the table during the Summit, including establishing a separate capital reserve fund for schools and the possibility of merging the County's economic development arm — Partners in Progress — with the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The agenda ranged widely over County priorities, from what to do with the new land use plan to what to do with the now-empty basement of the courthouse, from funding school construction projects to providing incentives for new and expanding businesses.
The one obvious thing missing from the agenda, Picerno noted at day's end, was water, because plans for a new source of water for Moore County was nailed down in the first Critical Issues Summit of the year, held in April.
We've broken our coverage of the September Summit into three parts: