The Bethel City Council laid out its goals and priorities for 2021 in their Jan. 26 meeting. Some goals were procedural and were approved without much discussion, like making sure the finance department gets fully staffed again and that city audits go according to plan.
But one goal that stood out was making the city a more racially diverse and inclusive place, starting with its own government. Council passed a document that calls for analyzing demographic data on city employees. The document says that city government can better respond to the needs of its residents by being more diverse itself. Mayor Michelle DeWitt and Vice Mayor Haley Hanson both said that they supported this goal, and expressed their desire for more concrete progress. DeWitt suggested that some of the city’s committees or commissions could develop this goal in greater detail, but it wasn’t clear which one, if any, might do that.
Also during the Jan. 26 meeting, Council member Perry Barr, who sits on the Community Action Grant Committee, reminded Bethel's citizens that the application period for Community Action Grants opens up on Friday, Jan. 29 and closes at the end of February. Community Action Grants can be pursued by either individuals or community organizations that “contribute to the health, welfare, and overall lives of the residents of Bethel, especially its most vulnerable populations.” More information on how to apply can be found on the City of Bethel’s website.