In an effort to support a local non-profit’s annual Christmas event in Williams and to encourage their residents to get into the Christmas spirit this year, the City Council authorized staff to purchase $7,500 worth of artificial Christmas trees, lights, and equipment to help decorate the Town Square.
At last Wednesday’s city council meeting, City Administrator Frank Kennedy explained that Citizens for a Better Williams (CBW) have traditionally cut down a large evergreen and had it hauled to town and – with the help of the fire department and public works department – placed it in the Town Square for their annual ‘Festival of Lights’ and the Christmas season at large.
The group announced in September that its members had unanimously agreed that, in light of the forest fires ravaging the Mendocino National Forest, they would not be cutting down a healthy tree for the holidays. Instead, they decided on putting up a number of artificial trees and decorating those.
“Honestly, when all those trees burned, is it really right to take a healthy tree out of the forest for a month of please for somebody?” CBW member Andi Armstrong said.
On Wednesday, Kennedy encouraged the council to approve the $7,500 expense, which he said would allow the city to purchase some high-quality artificial trees. Kennedy added that the city is considering drawing the rest of the community into the fold by allowing various businesses and organizations to decorate the trees, and potentially making a contest out of it. If the city does run a contest, the trees would go up by the Festival of Lights but would likely be judged closer to Christmas.
“All this would remain – obviously – city property, moving forward,” Kennedy said. “I tried to get the community more involved. Typically, we’ll put the tree up, put the lights on it, and that’s it – the community is not really involved in decorating or beautifying it, and getting into the Christmas spirit. This might help get the whole town to participate in the Christmas spirit here in Williams.”
The council voted to approve the expense 4-0-1, with Alfred Sellers absent, on a motion by John Troughton.
“In the spirit of Christmas, I’ll move that we approve it, but with the condition that if all $7,500 is not needed, we don’t spend it,” Troughton said.
“Anything we can do to make the city look nice for Christmas, I’m all for it,” Councilman Santos Jauregui said after seconding Troughton’s motion. ■