A new year brings new goals for the Champaign City Council

By Angelica Lavito

The Champaign City Council voted 9-0 on Jan. 7 to adopt its goals for 2013-2015. The goals include fostering quality of life for all citizens, providing first-rate services, acting fiscally responsible, promoting economic opportunity, serving as a model for environmental sustainability and committing to be an honest, transparent government.

“I’m very proud of this council for putting together a group of goals that sets the stage for anyone, top to bottom in our community, to succeed, and to have the opportunity to succeed and raise their families,” said Mayor Don Gerard at the December study session.

Two study sessions were held in October to review and update aspects of the goals, which are set every two years, and another study session was held in December to discuss the language of the goals before adopting them.

“The goal-setting process is designed for (the) council to build consensus on policy and project priorities that will have an impact on the community’s residents, businesses, as well as the community as a whole,” said Deputy City Manager Joan Walls at the December study session.

A facilitator was hired in order to ease the goal-setting process, and the council members were split up into two groups to discuss their ideas.

“One of the biggest things that I felt was the fact that even though we had broken into small groups, each small group had very similar ways to move forward,” said Karen Foster, council member at-large. “There wasn’t a lot of diversity in what we were thinking as far as future goals.”

One of the new projects the council included to help fulfill the goal of promoting economic opportunity is promoting the gigabit Internet capacity of UC2B, Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband.

“Finding a company that’s willing to take that on will be huge economic development project for us,” Foster said.

In order to fulfill the goal of committing to an honest, transparent government, the city will explore alternative staffing models to improve public communications.

A study session was held Tuesday regarding the Council’s policy on disclosure of interests in various business organizations that are involved in business operations with the city.

City departments have begun working on other projects outlined within the goals.

“I was exceptionally proud to work with this group of individuals who work exceptionally well as a team,” Gerard said. “I think we have a very good plan for this city, and I’m looking forward to achieving every single one of these goals we set forth.”

Angelica can be reached at [email protected]