Seeking out public participation should become part of our process for major decisions that impact the community’s well-being. Creating a citizen engagement policy is one way the city can facilitate this. We must continue to find opportunities for collaboration and resource sharing to ensure efficiency and progress in achieving community goals. Creating a participatory budgeting process is one possible way to foster community collaboration and decision-making. Developing communication strategies to inform residents will help ensure collaboration. We should strive to ensure that decision-making is geographically appropriate (neighborhood to citywide) for the issue at hand.
We should continue to ensure that all people have equal opportunity to participate in decision-making before the decision is made, by using timelines and other constraints that are clear, fair and unambiguous. Officials, administration and the public should help create a “City Report Card” that explains how City Council, Planning Board and City Hall decisions address public expectation and meet, support and implement the community’s vision for the future.
Simplicity and Clarity in Process
We should strive to make citizen participation in municipal decision-making as easy and clear as possible. Clear rules and regulations with easy-to-understand guidelines and timelines will be useful to those that want to invest in the community. Balancing state requirements placed upon the city with the goal of making community processes and procedures easy to follow will continue to be a challenge. Where possible, we should facilitate easy access and use of city government services and processes by the community