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Retreat scheduled this weekend

7/18/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The Hays City Commission's meeting in Salina this weekend could cost an estimated $3,500.

The strategic planning session will be Saturday and Sunday at Courtyard by Marriott in Salina. The public meeting is an opportunity for commissioners to discuss the city's long-term vision outside the routine of weekly meetings, said Toby Dougherty, Hays city manager. No action will be taken on any measures.

Mayor Henry Schwaller IV said the annual Salina meeting has been a tradition for at least six years. It did not take place last year because of schedule conflicts.

It has been hosted at venues in Hays, but traveling out of town keeps commissioners on location, Schwaller said.

"We go to Salina, part of the justification is we're there. We can't escape," Schwaller said. "I don't mean it that way, but we focus on the meeting rather than the things we could be doing at home."

Development planning, water issues, commissioners' concerns and streets are among the "big picture" issues they will discuss, he said.

"We just talk about all the things that we don't really have time to do here," he said.

The leaders take steps to limit the excursion's cost. They will carpool and eat at the hotel except for one meal.

"I understand because I've been critical of it. It doesn't make sense to some to go to Salina and spend a couple thousand dollars," he said. "It is open to the public. We try to be as frugal as possible."

Commissioners will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.