City must do better job of getting public input

At the January 23 City Commissioner’s meeting City Manager Rohr opened the subject of the Downtown Redevelopment saying that he didn’t want to get into a discussion, but that the project was progressing. During his 3 minute presentation Mr. Rohr made no specific comments on the progress of the plan; no additional details of the plan; no additional information on priorities; no information on planning costs; no additional information on the involvement of stake holders. That was it.

Mayor Terri Brown then asked for public comments, but before anyone could collect their thoughts, she closed the comment period in less than 4 seconds. 4 seconds! There had been no response to several critical questions that had been raised earlier; the lack of the opportunity for additional public comments was pointed out by Commissioner Larry Hurta and his request to reopen the comment period was denied. An agenda item that was to provide responses to additional public comments fell far of that.

This was troubling and points out my real concern of the city’s questionable process of involving the public in important development projects. Involving stake holders in the process, and the public is certainly a stake holder, would allow the city to address some controversial aspects of the plan and adjust the plan at an early stage. It would also have the benefit of developing support early in the project.

The city simply needs to do a better job of meeting its responsibility to the public.

Anthony Crosby