City of Watertown City Hall. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

A little more than a year ago, City Manager Richard M. Finn began working with members of the Watertown City Council on what priorities they wanted to pursue to improve the community.

He urged them to come up with about a half-dozen ideas that city staffers could develop into a blueprint for the next five to 10 years. These goals and objectives could eventually be turned into policies implemented throughout the city.

Council members provided numerous examples of what they’d like to see done. Staffers started working in specific teams to flesh out a strategic plan.

The city then began holding open houses to solicit input from residents. An upcoming public hearing is at 7 p.m. Monday at Watertown High School, 1335 Washington St.

A draft of these goals and objectives is available at People are encouraged to read through the document prior to the public hearing.

One of the goals is for the city to improve its relationship with local institutions such as Fort Drum, the YMCA, Jefferson Community College, business groups and nonprofit organizations.

Other goals include enhancing customer service, improving communication, achieving fiscal sustainability, continuing work in the city’s infrastructure, boosting pride in Watertown’s appearance, advancing economic development and increasing public safety.

There is a lot to this document; it offers details on what city representatives want to accomplish. Residents should familiarize themselves with it so they’ll be able to interact with officials during the public hearing.

This interaction will only prove beneficial if people show up for the hearing. The city has had difficulty attracting crowds to public events to discuss important issues. The proposed revisions to the city charter and the comprehensive plan come to mind.

We understand people are very busy managing their households, so attending a public hearing may not be high on everyone’s list of things to do. But this will affect the city’s future, so we hope residents will consider this event worthwhile.

Public improvements are possible only when civic engagement is increased. Self-government requires participation, and we urge residents to come prepared to express themselves on how to make the city better.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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