More to do
When members of the new Washington City Council take office Monday, the clock begins ticking when it comes to them following through on their campaign platforms and promises.
Voters must remember that each council member has just one vote. To accomplish anything, a majority of council members must come together. There’s no question the majority of voters who marked their ballots in the City Council election want some changes made in how city government operates. The question is whether there will be enough votes to bring about those changes.
Several council members-elect picked up on the voters’ message.
Mercer said the first thing the new council must do is get the city on firm financial footing so it has the resources to address other matters. He’s right, and look for Mercer to lead that effort.
Councilman-elect Gil Davis said he believes most city voters sent a message about how they want the city to approach development in the downtown and waterfront areas.
Jennings agrees. So do we.
And that’s what awaits the new council.
It will have to take the lead, with input from the public, in developing a plan to guide growth in the city. Election season was the time for talk. Now, it’s time for action.
There’s at least one indication that city government may be more attuned to listening to what the public has to say about certain city matters. That indication came last month when the City Council decided the city needs help with preparing a strategic plan for the proposed Tar River Nature Park.
The city wants assistance from the public, Planning Board, Washington Recreation Advisory Committee, Washington Tourism Development Authority and Downtown Washington on the Waterfront. The city also wants advice from the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and the Partnership for the Sounds, two organizations that know something about preserving, protecting and promoting bodies of water and wetlands.
The proposed Tar River Nature Park contains about 276 acres, mostly wetlands.
Because of those wetlands, people need to understand that some amenities, equipment and facilities they may want the park to have would be prohibited by state and federal regulations governing what can and cannot be built on wetlands, city officials said. The people who help develop the strategic plan for the park should determine what the limitations are as to what the city can do with those 276 acres, council members said.
With the city asking for the public’s help with the park project and development of a plan to guide growth in Washington, it’s up to the public to provide that help. City residents and taxpayers should let city officials know what they want, as long as the public’s wishes are realistic. Sometimes, not all items on a wish list are affordable or sensible.
A majority of voters has selected the next City Council. It’s up to the members of that new council to listen to the voters who put them in office. Their duties are about to begin.
So are the duties of the voters who put them in office. The voters’ duty doesn’t end with marking a ballot. That’s just the beginning. The voters’ duty is to help those they elected to do the best job they can while in office.
The public’s input with city government isn’t confined to just Election Day.