I attended the City Council’s Fall 2011 Town Hall Meeting on Saturday morning. In addition to helping the Council Members answer a couple of questions (they answered most of them), I was also chief photographer. That’s my work above.
We had 15 guests in the room at the start of the event at 10am. The house expanded to 23 by 11am. Not too bad considering the weather – which was absolutely spectacular.
The purpose of a Town Hall Meeting is to provide a more intimate, informal way to access City Council Members. The Town Hall Meeting format allows residents a chance to directly address their locally elected officials on the issues of the day. It’s meant to be a friendlier format than the formality of the City Council Chambers. The Town Hall Meeting is not taped or recorded, so residents are not impacted by the presence of cameras.
I think the Town Hall Meeting format works on a couple of levels. People feel more comfortable, and when they feel more comfortable, they share their more private thoughts on both larger and smaller issues. The format also serves residents who might not otherwise have the courage to stand before the Council in the Council Chambers under the TV lights. The Council and I do that all the time, but for many residents, that setting is intimidating. The Town Hall format is simpler. It’s more “small town”.
So what did we hear? Here’s a sample:
- Is the Dan Patch rail line ever going to be built? When? How much will it cost? How fast will the trains travel on the line?
- Does the City receive $27,000 from the State to do traffic enforcement on Highway 100? If so, that’s not enough.
- What will happen to the City’s property tax revenue if property values continue to fall?
- We need to address traffic that comes off Hwy 62 on to the Gleason-Tracy corridor. (I guess that’s not really a question.)
- Can the City install a sign that says “Edina School Campus” with an arrow pointing southward for drivers heading south on Tracy?
- What does the City Council think of the City encouraging the creation of neighborhood associations?
- Can the City address the view obstruction of the trees near the intersection of Valley View Drive and Sally Lane?
- How do people stay informed about City government?
- What’s going on with the Grandview Small Area Planning process?
- What should people do when they observe illegal on-street parking in their neighborhood?
This is just a sample of the dialog at the Town Hall Meeting. We’re planning another one for spring 2012. I’m looking forward to it.
(This blog post is also on my blog here.)