Listen up City HallYou may have the impression City Hall isn’t listening. You wouldn’t be wrong, according to Mayor Dave Ross.
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
You may have the impression City Hall isn’t listening.
You wouldn’t be wrong, according to Mayor Dave Ross.
“In government, I think we’re always battling perceptions, the perception that government doesn’t listen and government is unresponsive and government really doesn’t care,” he said. “I really have to say where our citizens make that expression, many times, they’re right.”
It’s a perception Ross is hoping to change.
City hall is opening its doors Tuesday night to listen to the public and answer any questions citizens may have about the way city government works.
“The town hall meeting is a great time to ask anything,” he said. “… We’re not going to put any limit on the kinds of questions that citizens can ask. And really, I think the last time we did this two years ago was really quite an educational event for our community. I think we all together kind of learned a lot more about how things work and why government makes the decisions they do.”
City department representatives will be there to answer questions, and all city councilors were invited to participate as well. Ross said it’s a great time to get to know government and the people who run it.
The town meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 201 of the Government Center, but people need not be present to participate. KUWS 91.3 FM is airing the meeting live, and people can call or e-mail their questions.
“Accessibility to their government is really going to be maximized at that moment because there’s going to be a number of avenues to get your question to the leaders in our community and get answers,” Ross said.
Two years ago, the city held a similar session.
“The last meeting — initially we had a little bit of fear, you know, that the kind of questions we would be getting would be disrespectful … but really it was a very good couple of hours that we spent taking questions,” Ross said. “The questions were good ones. We were impressed with how the quality of that event ... and we’re expecting that to happen again.”
And, Ross said, he fully expects that the process will be educational for city officials too if it’s anything like the calls he typically receives. He said the town hall meeting is an opportunity for citizens to educate city leaders.
“In the last couple days, I was in the house of someone who lives on Third Avenue East and East 10th Street and has a house that faces Hill Avenue. They had a concern about the fact that when an ambulance was called to their house, they couldn’t find their house,” Ross said late Friday afternoon. “And for the first time I realized there were three houses right on Hill Avenue that have an East 10th address. And I spent two visits that day with the homeowner who’s lived there for 56 years, and we talked about how we’re going to solve this problem.”
Contact Shelley Nelson at (715) 395-5022 or email@example.com