By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
With an eye to improved communication and exchange of information, the Town Council worked on its goals for the next fiscal year.
The discussion was held in a work session at the end of the Aug. 9 meeting. Robert’s Rules were suspended, which allowed for the more free exchange of ideas. The council plans to return to this list in six months and review what action has been taken.
Five goals had been set by the last council—develop economic growth, create a thriving community, make a safe and resilient community, good governance, and professional development. Councilor John Simmons said it was important to bring back those residents who feel their voices aren’t being heard. He referenced the 100 Town Meeting members who no longer had this role.
“We don’t want people getting their information from social media,” said Simmons.
Many on the council agreed, and so a new goal was set to improve communication and community participation. On a related note, Councilor Annie Slobogan suggested updating the town’s web site to provide more information in a central location. As an example, she said the meeting minutes could be better organized. She also suggested a change to the Town Charter to create new ways for residents to get involved.
“Support new projects and events, such as the block party and Farmers Market,” said Slobogan. “Improve upkeep of historic buildings, public artwork, and bring culture to the town.”
Projects such as maintaining and improving town fields and dredging the 10-Mile River—an ongoing source of flooding in the East Street area—were also listed as a priority for the next year.
On the subject of economic development, Councilor Darius Gregory had several ideas, including completing a housing production plan and creating new bylaws to stimulate growth in the town’s businesses. He also suggested a task force aimed at economic growth.
Town Manager Michael Borg cautioned the council that many of these goals had a price tag, and much of it had not been accounted for in the existing budget. He said these goals would need to be reviewed to see what could be done over the next year.
“We will run out of time, money, and people,” he said. “We can prioritize and see what can be done in a year.”