Much has been said about inclusion, or lack thereof, in the decision-making process of our town government. It’s my opinion that the process needs to be more inclusive—not for any particular individual, but for the community as a whole.
There appears to be a bias against providing town residents with information about proposed process changes and/or projects at the beginnings of discussions about those efforts. The argument against inclusion seems to go something like, “If you want a project to flourish, keep it out of the public eye in the early phases or it will never get off the ground.”
I would respectfully observe that early feedback is invaluable in shaping a project. If the work is done with an absence of participants, then mistakes are inevitable. I believe it would be much better to hear what the community has to say upfront, in order to judge the strength of acceptability from the beginning, and to benefit from the ideas of our residents.
We have a vital, energetic and involved community. The town’s decision-making process would be improved by including freer input.
Further, the public comment sections at the meetings of the Board of Selectmen and Town Council could only benefit from allowing residents to speak for their allotted time on matters of interest to them, and not just confine them to agenda items. I think our town government would profit from free public input, which would allow our governmental bodies to be more aware of the community’s sentiments and concerns.