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Charlotte Area

Mecklenburg Commissioners attend retreat

Mecklenburg County Commissioners are spending the next two days holed up at an upscale resort in Ballantyne for their annual planning retreat. Last year they met at a city park facility with a minimal budget and did not spend the night. But this year, Ned Curran, the CEO of the Bissell Company, offered the commissioners use of The Lodge at Ballantyne Resort for free. Curran denies any suggestion that the Bissell Company is trying to curry favor with the commission for future development projects. "I think it's something that is a legitimate point for folks to ponder," says Curran. "I would simply say we have nothing currently before the county commission of that nature. I don't think we've had it in years. Our motives here are simply to help these folks become better government, make better decisions hopefully." Curran says a one-night rental of the Lodge typically runs $12,000. The County Commission won't pay that fee, but will still have to pay a fee from the resort's catering service. The retreat agenda is focused mainly on establishing budget and policy priorities for the coming year. Topics include ways to improve low-performing schools and the possibility of offering domestic partner benefits for county employees.