Council to 'reach out' with town meeting Agenda will be geared to address residents' concerns

November 03, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The Columbia Council plans to sponsor a town meeting early next year to tell residents about issues before the board and to solicit their concerns and comments.

"I think a town meeting is an important part of reaching out to the community," said Councilwoman Norma Rose of Wilde Lake village, who proposed the idea. "It sends a message to the community that they're expected to participate."

The council will form a committee to set a date for the meeting and to plan an agenda. Council members agreed that the meeting should not be scheduled until the board completes its budget deliberations, which are scheduled to be finished by March 1.

Several council members suggested having the meeting in March, before council elections in April.

The council had agreed in principle to have a town meeting last year, but never held one, Ms. Rose said.

Some council members expressed concern that a meeting would not be well-attended without a focused agenda.

And even a carefully planned program won't guarantee a good turnout, said Councilwoman Evelyn A. Richardson of Dorsey's Search village.

Two years ago, she said, the council "put in a lot of work" on a town meeting that attracted mostly members of village boards, village architectural committees and Columbia Association advisory committees, "not the general citizenry we had hoped."

Among the issues that could be on the agenda are how to better run the unincorporated city's 21 outdoor swimming pools; charter revisions, such as the right to referendum; and voting rules and property maintenance concerns.

Ms. Rose said the council should ask residents for their ideas before setting an agenda, adding that the meeting could include smaller discussion groups for those interested in specific issues.

A town meeting is a "very good idea," said Councilman David Berson of River Hill village. "We can craft an agenda to attract people and make it useful."

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