CHARLESTOWN – In a move to provide taxpayers with additional time to air out their concerns with the town, the Town Council is hosting its first citzens' forum tonight at 7.
Council Vice President Daniel Slattery reminded those in attendance at the council's Jan. 10 meeting of the forthcoming forum that he said has been very successful in other towns he has resided.
The reason for the forum, he explained, is for citizens to provide the council with feedback, whether it be on issues of concern, quality of life matters in Charlestown, or suggestions on how to improve services in town.
It's also a means of giving taxpayers more than the two minutes allotted at council meetings for public forum, though individuals can register as a “person wishing to be heard” and receive 15 minutes of time at the dais.
Speakers at the meeting will be given three minutes each while the councilors will have two minutes to respond.
“The perspective is that there is only limited time in meetings for citizens to convey their concerns so we're going to try it in a three-hour format,” Slattery explained. “If it's successful we'll do it in other parts of the year.”
If there are not enough people in attendance, Slattery said, then the council will hold a workshop on the town's new personnel manual.
Individuals are encouraged to register with the Town Clerk's office at Town Hall prior to the meeting with their topic, name, and telephone number. Unregistered residents can also speak, but their turns will come once the registered speakers have finished.
Town Hall is located at 4540 South County Trail in Charlestown. You can call the clerk's office at 364-1200.
No decisions will be taken at the forums, Slattery said. The council will take the information provided by the citizens, see if they want to bring it to an agenda meeting, and then decide if they see if the idea has enough merit to bring it to a proper council meeting.
The idea for this initiative was pitched in November 2010, when Slattery suggested that the council hold quarterly workshops in January, April, August, and November.
While his fellow councilors appreciated the concept, they agreed that it should be held twice a year at first. Also, councilor Lisa DiBello said that it might be a good idea to hold at least one of the two meetings in the summer to allow for comments from seasonal residents.
As a result of the discussion, the second forum is tentatively scheduled for August.