In Touch With the Past

The past is closer than we think

The July 13th meeting minutes have arrived (you’ll find them buried within the August 17th meeting agenda). I hope you take a few moments to read them. What’s past may be past, but it’s also significant today. The issues we are dealing with build over time, and within the dialogue found in the previous minutes throughout the year you may find interesting patterns, telling information and insight worth keeping an eye on. It is today’s set up.

Some of the considerations, decisions and votes we make today relate directly to discussions held much earlier in the year. It is very interesting to look back and see what was declared in the past and by whom. It’s all relevant and intertwined. If you are looking for answers to one of the town’s current issues, please take a look back; the past is closer and more important than you might think.

As a reminder, at each meeting there are always citizens who take the time to participate in the process by offering public comments about items of interest, and they will do so again this week – don’t miss it! Please come and make your thoughts known too. When the minutes are finally  unveiled, please be sure to refresh your memory as to what the citizens had concerns about. Have their concerns received adequate follow up? How is the public comment portion of the meeting working?

It is very rewarding to see that Mayor Dubois has taken a considerate approach to public comments and has allowed the commission to respond to questions residents bring forward. Thank you, Mr. Mayor! This is a very positive step toward encouraging citizen participation because they feel as if they are being heard and their concerns are being attended to.

As an aside, Sue Lloyd’s comments from July 13th do not show up with the others in the July 13th meeting minutes (where the public comments are transcribed) but a copy of her comments were provided to the Mayor and they are listed as Exhibit A at the end of the minutes.

My personal thanks to all the residents who voluntarily prepare (investing much time), go to the meetings and stand publicly to voice their concerns about our town. Very nice work! [applause]

It should also be mentioned that the wait for minutes to be posted on the town website renders them of little use if they happen to be needed as reference or for insight into matters going up for a vote before the month is up. In addition, it seems some sort of significant error is discovered in the agenda or the minutes every time they come out. It is very important that those which are discovered be acknowledged vocally and made a part of the public record. The items for consideration are an important basis on which town decisions are made. Faulty information can alter the decisions a Commissioner or Mayor makes in days to come. I hope they, especially, will keep a close eye on the facts and figures presented for the town, but we must do so as well.

It has been noted as well that when the mention of an error is made, the room gets quiet, there seems to be a sort of collective shrug of the shoulders and a “too late now” sentiment hovers over the room . By then, it is usually too late because the vote goes on with no time to rethink the ramifications of the new information. So we cross our fingers and shuffle along hoping it’ll all work out better next time. But next time, there is the good possibility that there will be a new mistake, a new inconsistency, etc. Where is that “oh well” mindset taking us? Who benefits from this approach? What are we going to do about it?

It seems time to start bringing to light every error and discrepancy, those found on documents brought for approval, on meeting minutes, on the budget, on supporting documents, etc. and see what the compilation of them tells us. This is, in part, what keeping watch over town government looks like. Noting inconsistencies, paying attention to things that seem out of place or questionable (if they don’t seem right, they usually aren’t) and correcting errors is vital if we are to make positive decisions for Lake Park.

Eyes on Park?

According to the vote on July 13th, the grant for “Eyes on Park” (the installation of security cameras on Park Avenue) was to be contingent upon the cost of the internet connection for the camera monitoring to not exceed $300 a year.

I did see men working on a light pole at 9th and Park a week or so ago. Was this the installation of the cameras? If installation has begun, does this mean the cost of Comcast internet for this service has met the Commission’s agreed upon guidelines?

Does anyone have any news on this?  Let us know in the comments. If not, maybe it would be a worthy question for the Commission on Wednesday.

We hope you will be there at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow to join those who are holding Lake Park town government accountable.