Community feedback sought

Fiscal sustainability committee report
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Feedback from residents and community outreach were two recommendations focused on during the communication portion of last Thursday’s fiscal sustainability committee meeting. Committee member Larry Whitaker asked that recommendation number 144, which suggested a quarterly or semiannual workshop be held “to obtain feedback from the community” be pulled and discussed. “My comment is we have an awful lot of recommendations and city staff has a limited amount of time,” Whitaker said. “I think that recommendation is too much for the city to handle.” Michelle Hutchinson, the communications subcommittee co-chairwoman, said the “idea was, with the workshop, to establish dialogue.” “When in a City Council meeting, many times, people will not address the City Council, be it intimidation or the size of the crowd,” Hutchinson said. “Sometimes, in a workshop, there will be dialogue.” Committee vice-chairman Lee Guth suggested the workshops be held semiannually and committee chairman Richard Pearl had a similar statement. “Semiannual is appropriate,” Pearl said. “If no one shows up two times, it will just die a natural death.” Hutchinson replied that she would “be happy to amend the recommendation to a semiannual workshop.” The recommendation to hold a semiannual workshop was approved, with Whitaker being the only one opposed. Recommendation number 145, which called for “community outreach programs led by the City Council and city manager explaining issues that affect our city,” was pulled by committee member Dan Karleskint. The outreach program would include going to homeowner associations, service clubs, nonprofit organizations and worship communities on a monthly basis, focusing on a “specific department or service the city provides.” “I think it needs to be driven by the community, rather than the city,” said Karleskint. Communications subcommittee co-chairman Mike Miller said the recommendation for community outreach “might be better served as a tool and not a mandatory action.” “What I would be after is taking the outreach program as a potential tool to be used when a significant issue needs to be addressed,” Miller said.