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POLL: Why Aren't You More Involved in Local Government?

Feeling disconnect at the state and federal levels is understandable, but there is little getting in the away of connecting with your local government.

Editor's Note: I fixed the poll, but the 4 recorded votes were lost. Sorry for that! Please enter your vote again and know that by clicking a choice, your vote, like at the polls, is anonymous!

Anyone who has ever attended a village board meeting knows that aside from some perfunctory discussion, there is little debate about the issues. While there is opportunity for residents to comment and ask questions, by the time issues get to the Village Board, the work has already, for the most part, been done.

No, the real debates occur at the committee level. Because it's part of my job, I attend a fair number of meetings in both villages and I am amazed at how few residents are at any of them.

In , committee meetings are held on the Tuesday evenings there isn't a board meeting. Easy peasy. Show up at Village Hall at 6 pm, get a copy of the agenda that's always on the table, and follow along. Trustees and Village President Steve Jansen are always willing to listen to a resident and give consideration to that citizen's view.

can be a little more tricky, I know. Committee meetings are held at various times throughout the week; Planning Commission at 1 pm on Wednesdays once a month and Storm Water or Parks late in the afternoon on Thursdays. Residents who work traditional work hours certainly can't jog over to Village Hall and catch a meeting or even request to participate as a committee member if the meetings aren't convenient.

Still, village trustees and current committee members welcome residents to the conversations. They know the best idea may come from outside the group.

So here's what I want to know: What's your primary reason for not getting involved? Take our poll and I'll follow up with a future story.

Heather Asiyanbi October 14, 2011 at 08:21 PM
I tried to edit the poll, but ran into a snag. All "not convenient" votes are in Sturtevant. Sorry! Please clarify if this is right or not.
Tom October 14, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Caledonia was left out of this article, why? None the less, in over 20 years of living in Caledonia, I have never seen a posting for a village hall meeting. I assume one could go to the village hall and look for a posting. However, if you want public participation to any of the town meetings where ever, why can't our names be put on a mailing list of people who want to be notified of the times and dates of monthly hall meetings? Just a suggestion. Our local governments lack promoting important town hall meetings or functions like this.
Kevin Presser October 15, 2011 at 02:00 AM
I have a hearing disability that makes it difficult for me to hear and comprehend what is being said. For that reason I read the minutes for the Mt Pleasant Village Board, although they are not posted on the village website in a timely manner.
Heather Asiyanbi October 15, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Hi Tom, I'm pretty sure that municipalities can use their website now for posting notice of a meeting, but I know they also have to let the media know and put up a paper notice at Village Hall. Monthly mailings would get expensive, but I wonder if they couldn't utilize an electronic mailing list? Because I was writing about the villages I cover, I didn't include Caledonia. Not a slight, I assure you! I'm sure if you contact Denise Lockwood, she'd be happy to put a similar story on the Caledonia Patch website. Thanks for reading!
Heather Asiyanbi October 15, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Hi Kevin, I know that audio recordings of meetings are supposed to be available by the end of the year on the village's website. I know that doesn't help you now so I'm glad to provide you with stories from what happens at the meetings I attend.

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