Marana seeks to engage residents in discussions - Tucson Local Media: Marana

Marana seeks to engage residents in discussions

Voter turnout down, meetings not attended

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Posted: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 3:00 am

The Town of Marana is making plans to be more accessible to the general public by hosting regular town halls that will be issue-specific.

It is another step Marana officials are taking to try and reach citizens who appear happy with the status quo, and to allow residents to raise concerns that town staff may not be aware of, or have more input regarding ongoing issues.

To achieve that goal, officials are turning their focus on encouraging citizens to participate in discussions concerning public safety, roadway improvements, parks and recreation and other topics.

Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said, “The forums are a new way to engage citizens. We are serious about finding ways to get citizens to the table for more discussion.”

Town staff reviewed the format and how discussions would move forward.

Following the Arizona Town Hall format, discussions about the test meeting centered around employee appreciation.

Town spokesman Rodney Campbell said the format of the test meeting went well. Now, the discussions will roll over to the council.

The town council will discuss format, possible topics and other issues during its weekend retreat in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday.

Campbell said the council will review the current format, make recommendations and approve the plan in the weeks to come.

Campbell said an actual meeting has not been scheduled, and the council will decide how often a meeting will be held.

Hosting town halls is just another step the Town of Marana is taking to try and get citizens more involved.

In recent discussions, the council talked about a lack of controversy, or a lack of engagement, from the community. Voter turnout is down year after year, council meetings lack attendance, but issues still remain in the town.

With low voter turnout, the council opted to remedy the problem in August by voting to have all mail elections. Other communities throughout the state are moving to this format since statistics have shown it increases voter turnout.

Future meetings will be posted on the town’s website: www.marana.com.

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