By Renee Applegate
DAVIS – On May 25, 2021, the Davis City Council met to discuss its goals for 2021-2023.
Council goals included reviewal and adoption of draft goals, objectives and tasks. As defined in the published staff report, a “goal is a broad and general guideline of what the Council wants to achieve for the community” before the end of the calendar year 2023.
On Tuesday evening, City Manager Mike Webb introduced Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowicz to start off the 2021-2023 Council Goals discussion with a brief presentation about the draft goals found in the meeting agenda.
Webb noted that the council had released initial feedback at their goals workshop a few weeks ago on Mar. 23, 2021. That feedback, Webb explained, helped lay the groundwork for developing the draft document of Council goals, objectives and tasks.
According to Stachowicz, feedback from the Council’s March workshop and input across all city departments helped her and city staff write a draft document that could be “usable” for both staff and the Council.
The draft document, included as an attachment in the staff report, describes six proposed goals, related objectives and more specific tasks. The staff report describes an objective as “more specific than a goal and defines a strategy to address or reach the goal.”
While prefacing her brief presentation, Stachowicz said that she and her staff “tried to focus on things that we need to do that are different and new.”
As a result, many of the basic operational activities like fire, community services and planners are not included in the draft document.
“But everybody rest assured firefighters are going to continue to respond to calls and community services will continue to offer recreation classes, and planners will continue to process applications,” Stachowicz explained.
Stachowicz began her presentation with a quick preview of the six goals and corresponding objectives included in the draft document.
The first goal of the Draft 2021-2023 City Council Goals and Objectives is ensuring a safe, healthy, equitable community. Stachowicz pointed out that this is a new objective that she hopes “we never have to have on here again.”
With Goal 1’s objectives, Stachowicz hopes the Council will be able to successfully guide the community through the end of the pandemic. She noted that the pandemic has been an overwhelming focus over the past year and that while there is light at the end of the tunnel, “there is still work to be done to bring us completely out of the tunnel.”
The rest of the objectives of Goal 1 mainly relate to issues of public safety efforts, affordable housing, and homelessness. During the public commenting period, a resident praised the Council for Goal 1 as a “good start,” but believes “we could do more” by expanding Objective 3.
According to the draft document, the council’s second goal is to ensure fiscal and economic stability. The second goal, says Stachowicz, has different tasks under the objectives for revenue, cost containment, transparency and other items related to economic development in the community.
Pursuing environmental sustainability is listed as the third goal in the draft document. The objectives of Goal 3 involve updating and integrating the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, evaluating water conservation strategies, conserving resources, integrating environmentally responsible pest management, enhancing open space areas and supporting Valley Clean Energy. Stachowicz highlighted the importance of Goal 3’s related objectives “as we’re continuing in drought conditions.”
The fourth goal relates to the funding, maintenance and improvement of infrastructure. Stachowicz provided an additional explanation that Goal 4 “includes infrastructure projects and planning, transportation-related issues, circulation system, parks greenbelts, and open space.”
Davis residents voiced their concerns to the Council regarding Goal 4’s insufficiencies. One long-time resident was particularly concerned that the draft goals lack transparency and accountability as it relates to the new Tree Ordinance update, found under Part H of the first objective of Goal 4. Rather, the resident hoped the Council would add an enforcement plan as well as a downtown tree plan “so that we have the detail and force of law to get better trees.”
Tracy DeWitt also made a public comment about trees, asking the Council to make trees an immediate priority by setting aside a large fund for trees “to address the mistakes of the past and to create a future of healthy trees for our children, for our grandchildren, and beyond.” DeWitt stated that the trees in Davis have been planted so carelessly that they not only waste their own potential, but also valuable resources such as water.
With the fifth goal, Stachowicz hopes that the Council can create a vibrant downtown and thriving neighborhoods. After the Council’s March workshop, Goal 5 was reworded and restructured based on those conversations to focus on downtown specific issues as well as arts and culture, says Stachowicz.
“Our intent is city-wide with this one…but we think that there are some special needs and opportunities downtown” she continued.
Commissioner Josh Chapman, however, took issue with the language of the goal itself. The word creates implies that a vibrant downtown and thriving neighborhoods do not yet exist. Rather, the council agreed that changing the word create to foster would offer
Lastly, Stachowicz introduced the sixth goal in the draft document as the fostering of excellence in city services. She explained that this goal includes objectives related to community outreach and input and organizational tasks for the city – as both an organization and employer.
“I think we have the feedback we need,” says Mike Webb before ending the Council Goals discussion. Webb, Stachowicz, and staff will return as soon as possible at a future meeting with an updated version of the goals, objectives, and tasks for Council final consideration and adoption. At that point, staff and Council will engage in a Focus Items discussion.
Renee Applegate is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, currently majoring in Political Science (Public Service) and minoring in Environmental Policy & Planning and Professional Writing. She is from San Clemente, CA.