Residents invited to coffee with the Summit County Council
November 29, 2017
Summit County citizens will have two opportunities this week to sit down with members of the County Council to discuss community issues while having a cup of coffee or some breakfast.
The County Council was scheduled to hold the informal gatherings on Thursday, Nov. 30, and Friday, Dec. 1, from 7 until 9 a.m. at the Mirror Lake Diner and No Worries Café & Grill, respectively. A session was held in South Summit on Tuesday with County Council members Roger Armstrong and Doug Clyde.
The gatherings were initiated to provide people with another forum to question, complain and comment on a range of issues. No decisions will be made during the discussions.
"I think the Council does a really good job of making themselves available to hear from members of the community," said Krachel Greenwood, the county's public information officer. "But, those are often formal processes and we wanted to offer an opportunity to meet casually with the Council to ask questions, provide feedback and get comments."
There are several ways for people to reach out to the County Council now, including during the public input portion of the Council meetings, via email and through the county website's 'Let us know' portal. However, Greenwood noted the formality of the present communication tools.
"There will only be two members present at each. That way it is truly a casual meeting opportunity," she said. "We want to hold more gatherings like this and make it a regular occurrence. We've had two in the past, but this will be the first opportunity to hold one on the West Side."
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Greenwood said she expects the Council to field questions about a variety of topics, including the proposed property tax increase, transportation and the incorporation of properties on the East Side.
County Council member Kim Carson, who will join County Council Chair Chris Robinson on Thursday at the No Worries Café & Grill, said last summer's gatherings "went really well." She said the County Council was able to hear from people that it may not have heard from otherwise.
"A lot of people don't want to go to a meeting and stand up in that formal setting," she said. "I think this is a lot less intimidating to be across the table and having a cup of coffee and have it be more of a conversation. I don't know that we always get that opportunity during a Council meeting."
In addition to transportation and a potential property tax increase, Carson said she also anticipates discussing the proposed noise abatement measure for Interstate 80, the Woodward action camp proposed at Gorgoza Park, and general questions about growth and transient issues.
"It doesn't mean we are going to have all the answers, but I know in past cases when people have brought particular things up we have been able to follow up with our constituents," she said. "I think more importantly than us being able to talk about our positions on things, unless we are specifically asked, this is an opportunity to be able to listen and find out what our community's positions are in different areas. If we have been taking a different strategy we can explain that position."
Carson said the gatherings are beneficial "even if only a small group shows up." She said more than 10 people attended the gathering she visited last year.
"Even if it is just two people, those are two people you may not have reached otherwise," she said. "It's definitely worth it."
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