As everyone involved with a business, a government agency or even a family knows, setting goals is a lot easier than reaching them.
But if you set the wrong goals - be they unrealistic, impractical or unachievable - all that results is wasted effort.
To Tuolumne County's credit, it has set reachable, sensible 2011 goals tailored to today's struggling economy and to our thinly stretched government budgets.
Building out the ambitious Law and Justice Center off Old Wards Ferry Road is not on the list. Nor is purchase of a fleet of new sheriff's patrol cars or paving Italian Bar Road.
Instead, the board has voted to:
•Work with Internet providers to extend broadband service.
•Cooperate with garbage haulers in extending the county recycling program to Tuolumne and Groveland.
•Consider changing its zoning ordinance to allow larger big-box stores.
•Promote economic development in the county through a variety of means, including reduced mitigation fees.
•Continue the ongoing effort to strengthen the county's fire and first-responder system.
•Increase citizen access to county information by, among other
things, holding more townhall meetings and making board-meeting videos
available on line.
These were among goals set forth when supervisors set the 2011
agenda for their planning committee and then listed what the full board
hopes to accomplish in the year ahead.
The Planning Committee, whose policy recommendations go to the
board for action, will consider hiking the county's big-box limit above
the current 60,000 square feet - reportedly at the request of a
The committee, which includes Supervisors John Gray and Evan Royce
as well as representatives from the county's planning commissions, will
continue updating the General Plan's economic development element and
also consider easing rules on emergency shelters, residential hotels
and transitional housing, streamline regulations to promote economic
development and "eliminate discouragement for such development," and
allow more commercial development on farm land to "encourage
Among additional Board of Supervisors' goals: rewriting the
county's Biological Handbook to make it easier for developers to comply
with environmental rules, drafting a "blueprint" encouraging public and
private investment in county areas with superior roads, utilities and
other services and adopting "rolling five-year capital improvement
Also on the list is developing a legislative platform under which
the county would back bills that would "enhance the county's ability to
manage its programs" and streamline the planning process, and oppose
those that "could harm the county and its residents."
The county will also work with the city to adopt identical
ordinances regulating marijuana dispensaries allowed under state law.
Although there may be little public pressure for such an ordinance, the
state law providing for dispensaries has been on the books for 15 years
and there are already two providers in business - one in the city and
one in the county.
It is time consistent rules are adopted.
The 2011 goals have this in common: None of them have extravagant
prices and most of them address problems caused by the ongoing
More broadband, streamlined regulations, flexible housing rules and
more public information about all of it are good things.
Setting worthy goals, indeed, is an important first step. But now
comes the tough part for the Board of Supervisors and the county staff: