Entertainment overlay districts, homelessness, watershed and wildlife rehab bond and banning disposal wells are among the top goals from The Norman City Council's retreat.
Council members prioritized goals for the year, developed a mission statement and motto, and bonded through various team building efforts during the July 26-27 retreat. The council spent one day on goals and each member had stickers to rank projects on a 1-4 scale, with 4 being the highest priority.
Several of the projects council members mentioned are already in the works and were not prioritized. The final list includes 14 ranked items, 20 items in the works and not ranked, and five that didn't make it to discussion, but that doesn't mean the council will not work on those as well.
"I was not surprised by the amount of goals, because we have some very creative and hardworking council members, but I see it as my job as mayor to help facilitate their vision and help us to be successful in checking off that list," Mayor Breea Clark said.
Clark facilitated most of the retreat, outside of city staff presentations, and she said overall it went well and was one of the best retreat experiences she's had.
City Manager Darrel Pyle said several important things came out of the retreat which include council's new shared vision for the city summarized in the mission statement and motto, their list of priorities for city staff to focus their energy and attention on and the formation of a team.
"I think that the way that the items are prioritized match the council's priorities," Alex Scott, Ward 8 council member, said. "We spent a lot of time together putting [the list] together. We used stickers to designate what we wanted to focus on and there was compromise, we all had to give up somethings that we wanted to focus on."
Scott said the banning disposal wells goal is a big one that the council is working on and was one of her top priorities, and she said they all want to work towards more environmental initiatives.
The banning of disposal wells is also an important goal to Alison Petrone, Ward 3 council member, who said she has spoken with many Ward 3 residents who have property damage issues who are interested in this goal. She said all of the top four goals received stickers from her.
The entertainment overlay districts goal was one of Joe Carter, Ward 2 council member's proposals and focuses mainly on bringing more live music and entertainment scenes into Norman. Carter said over his lifetime here there seems to be decreasing and deteriorating in Norman.
"I just wondered if there was something we could do to try and stimulate a greater live music scene in Norman," Carter said.
Carter said he's also interested in trying to improve the watersheds and conservation areas around Norman and helping the homeless population. Homelessness is also a significant goal for Kate Bierman, Ward 1 council member. A program for ambulance insurance was high on Bierman's list even though it received a three and was lower on the list.
Ambulance insurance is an item that is pending legal review. City Clerk Brenda Hall said as soon as legal takes a look at the goals pending review, the council will be able to revisit them. She said every year after the council retreat she takes the items on the list and breaks them up by committee so the council and city staff can begin checking items off their list.
Stephen Tyler Holman, Ward 7 council member, said homelessness, banning disposal wells and biking policies were among his top prioritized goals, but after being to about seven council retreats he said this was one of the best ones. He said having the retreat at the hotel offered more areas for the council to hang out and get to know one another.
"I think this year Mayor Clark had a different vision of what she wanted to do," Holman said.
Bill Scanlon, Ward 6 council member, said the banning of disposal wells and homelessness goals are important to him and his ward residents as well. He aid he is also interested in some related goals for homelessness that weren't listed, such as a place for the homeless population. As a newer council member, he said the team building portion was great too.
"I thought it was structured in such a way that we did get to know each other a little better, both in the structured portion and the social portion," Scanlon said. "I felt more comfortable walking away from that retreat than I did going into it."
On the web
View the complete list of The Norman City Council's goals and priorities for 2019-2020 at http://www.normanok.gov/cityclerk/city-council. Currently the document is a rough draft, but according to city staff the document will be updated in the coming week with the final copy.