Hays City Commission retreat Feb. 20

City of Hays press release
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The Hays City Commission will hold its annual retreat on Saturday, Feb. 20 at BriefSpace, 219 W. 10th St.

The retreat starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. It is open to the public.

"There is no set agenda," said City Manager Toby Dougherty. "I have a few topics of discussion, but they are mostly to provide information and hopefully encourage a discussion of mid-long range issues."

Those items include a financial update, discussion of the city's quarter-cent sales tax proceeds, the next fire station, some planning and zoning FAQs, and general organizational updates, Dougherty said.

Any discussion involving land acquisition, attorney-client privilege, or proprietary information will be held in closed executive session, requiring others in the room to leave during that time, he  said.

"The retreat is about discussing mid and long range issues, it is not about immediate action," Dougherty explained to The Hays Daily News. "It is about saying 'what if?' and then having a free-form discussion of the matter. As staff, we take feedback from the commission and then put that into our plans. If there are action items, they happen via the regular process."

The city commission started doing annual retreats in 2008, usually out of town in Salina. Items discussed may never lead to action items, but if they do, they usually are quite some time out, Dougherty said.

One example is discussion at 2020's retreat of what the commission could do with the proceeds of a quarter-cent countywide sales tax on the ballot in November 2020. Commissioners talked about what could be done with the monies, and then they went through a few exercises to choose their individual priorities, Dougherty said.

"Based off of feedback from this discussion, staff presented a list of options to the Commission at a work session once the sales tax passed," he said. From that discussion, money was allocated for the ARC Park, as well as turf and shade at the Bickle-Schmidt sports complex.