Correction: Tonight’s dinner meeting is at the Events Center, not Hoffstadt Bluffs.
The Cowlitz County Commissioners plan to huddle this evening with other elected officials and department heads, then will meet again all day on Friday, convening a “Leadership Retreat” in an effort to come up with some ways to solve the county’s budget issues. The county is spending up to $10,000 to bring in a Kingston-based consultant named Michael Pendleton to facilitate the retreat, which will start this evening with a dinner session at Hoffstadt Bluffs. Pendleton will open the retreat with a presentation called “The Asteroid is Upon Us,” followed by a detailed budget presentation from County Finance Director Claire. Hauge. The retreat will resume Friday morning at the County Expo Center, starting with a session on “understanding and overcoming barriers to fiscal sustainability.” The afternoon will be spent on working on solutions, including a comparison of targeted cuts versus across-the-board cuts, defining the budget-setting process, and possible identification of new revenues. The retreat is open to the public, but there is no time set aside for public participation.