The Williamsburg City Council sat down to examine and revise the city’s goals, initiatives and outcomes at its meeting last Thursday.
Williamsburg has implemented broad goal statements since the early ’90s, but every two years the council analyzes whether they have met the goals it has set for the community.
“They are designed to cover a two-year period. … In some cases, it is looking at what the city needs to work on, or a long-term goal,” City Manager Jack Tuttle said. “So desired outcomes are measured for each of the goals, and they are matched to observed results, which is evidence of how well we are progressing or not progressing.”
Thus far, the Council has eight goals: the culture of the city, economic vitality, transportation, public safety, human services and education, culture and recreation, environmental sustainability, citizen engagement and city governance.
However, John Whitley, a citizen of Williamsburg, felt that a goal was missing: healthy communities. Vice Mayor Paul Freiling ‘83 first brought up this goal in a previous work session.
“Vice Mayor Freiling, I really appreciated your thought about [adding] something that deals with [a] healthy community and healthy city, and I had another piece: healthy citizens,” Whitley said. “We [should] grab that piece and look at expanding that concept into a more holistic approach to assure that all people are protected, recognized, respected and accepted.”
Whitley explained that the city of Williamsburg should focus on the groups of people that are being subjugated by certain laws and how community programs can help them to become healthy citizens.
“There are laws that violate the rights and dignities of women, suppress voter registration and deny LGB folk the right to adopt,” Whitley said. “I call these laws acts of hatred because they deny the respect and dignity of these people.”
In an attempt to revise the city’s goals, Freiling suggested that the Council include healthy communities in nearly all of its goals.
“We [may] decide that it is worth creating a separate category for healthy communities [as] another level of reaching our objective … but we [may] also find a way of connecting each of the specific items within the other categories,” Freiling said.