The title says it all:
- Learn what's happening in your community. Meetings of your local governing body are where important decisions are made. They are where your elected officials decide on your community's future. A number of matters are openly discussed: taxes, fire, police, infrastructure, economic development, finance and host of other issues . Matters you should be aware of. Matters that impact your community.
- Voice your opinion. As a taxpayer and citizen, your voice matters. Council or Commission meetings (depending on where you live) offer citizens the opportunity to speak. Each meeting has a public input period. Speak. If there is a piece of legislation, a local matter that concerns you, or you simply want input on a issue being decided, public meetings offer you the chance to speak. And if you feel compelled enough, you should.
- Meet other concerned citizens. Most people do not attend public meetings. Typically, only the most concerned or those who simply can attend, attend. Council/Commission meetings bring together those in the community who are often most concerned about a particular issue or involved in public affairs. These meetings are great opportunities to interact with those you otherwise would not talk to. They are your neighbors and the people you share your community with.
I have heard before that only 8% of people in the United States have or ever will attend a public meeting in their lifetime. That says most people have no idea about what's going on in their communities.
Make it a goal to attend at least two a year or watch a recorded/streamed meeting. Most municipalities and governing authorities show meetings over the web and record them for later view. Take advantage. Know and embrace your community, attend some Council/Commission meetings, and choose to be more proactive about what happens in your community.