Board members spent the much of their snowy City Commission retreat Friday discussing several topics, including possible new initiatives, a range of city priorities, projects, goals, long-term needs and funding options, as well as commission policies.

Board members spent the much of their snowy City Commission retreat Friday discussing several topics, including possible new initiatives, a range of city priorities, projects, goals, long-term needs and funding options, as well as commission policies.

Mayor Richard Finley and all members of the board were in attendance — keeping in mind the commission's Ward 6 Seat is currently vacant after Micheal Dykstra's resignation in early December.

Also, many leaders from various departments were part of the roundtable discussion, including police, fire, emergency management, airport, parks, utilities, finance, human resources, city clerk's office, planning office, city attorneys, along with City Manager Justin Erickson.

During the meeting Erickson offered an update, showing a list from a previous retreat, and explaining progress that had been made toward many of those goals, such as: resolving the city's battle to settle a dispute with the county over collected 911 fees; a $1.75 million grant from Avedis for sidewalks and trails; many reforms made to the animal shelter; getting funding from Avedis and the county for upgrades to the Heart of Oklahoma Exposition Center; the agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation regarding the Kickapoo South project; the passing by voters of alcohol sales on Sundays; implementation of the Shawnee Municipal Authority's Master Plan; Fire Station No. 2 renovation; and the Wayfinding effort, among others.

Commissioners each brought specific matters to the table — whether they be concerns, new ideas brainstorming efforts or old issues still needing resolutions — and shared thoughts on when and how to address them, sometimes polling others to gauge interest.

Multiple members agreed that affordable housing in Shawnee, the homeless situation and the city's ability to market itself were important to face.

The need to improve an outdated Master Plan, the question of whether to revisit the hotel/motel tax idea and the ongoing conundrum of what and how to make use of the 160-acre ball field also were among items for some in-depth discussion.

There were several Charter, Code, fee and ordinance changes or amendments suggested in an effort to pave the way for clearer and smoother city operations.

Erickson presented his 2017-2022 Capital Improvement list, which ultimately led to the never-ending issue of how to foot the bill to meet necessary goals.

Erickson was diligent in his balancing act to weigh the community's needs against its ability to pay for it.

Finley said in order to get where the city wants to be, it will have to find a way to cover the cost.

Another workshop may be scheduled some time in March, Erickson said.

Read more in depth about some of these topics next week in future editions of the Shawnee News-Star.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.