Champaign City Council to hold special sessions for long term goal setting

Champaign City Council will continue to address long-term goals and visions for 2011 and beyond at Tuesday and Wednesday’s special goal-setting sessions.

These will be the second and third of a total of four possible meetings regarding the council goal-setting process. The objective is to finalize the goals for 2011 to 2013 as suggested by city staff and Champaign residents. City goal sessions are held every two years.

On August 30, city council members defined their personal goals of what they would like to see accomplished in the next few years. They also addressed the successes and failures of the 2009 to 2011 goals, which included improving the quality of life for Champaign residents, providing first-rate services, assuming fiscal responsibility, promoting economic opportunity and sustainability and a transparent local government.

Marci Dodds, District 4, said she doesn’t expect any drastic changes from the previous two-year plan. However, she said the council is willing to hear what the public has to say about its goals. In September, the city developed an online survey where residents could offer input on what they hope the council will look into. This will be the first time the public input from those surveys is detailed. What the public suggested varied from person to person.

“We received all kinds of suggestions about downtown, the police and fire departments, the streets — a lot of different stuff,” Dodds said.

Mayor Don Gerard said it’s important for the public to be a part of the discussions because that way they won’t feel left out of the process. Gerard said local government doesn’t work as it did 50 years ago; the residents should know what the council wants to do to improve the community.

“We’re going to have to make decisions on how to spend local tax dollars,” Gerard said. “It’s their tax dollars, and we need to represent (Champaign residents) as best as possible.”

A fourth meeting may be held in early November, but this depends on the progress made at Tuesday and Wednesday’s meetings.

“We’re setting goals for the next two years,” Dodds said. “It’s a lot of discussion that we anticipate.”

Unlike general city council meetings, the two-day goal-setting sessions will start at 6 p.m. and be held at the EnterpriseWorks Building, 60 Hazelwood Dr., Champaign.