We will soon have a new mayor and city council taking office in Marshalltown. I would like to again pose this question to our new administration.
If government at the state and federal levels see fit to work from a focused committee base on key government issues why not use this avenue for local government?
Not that many years ago our city council worked from this very principle for closer communications to citizens and a more focused effort of representing the various city departments by forming key department committees reporting to the full council on important and complex issues that must be dealt with these days. It seems to me that it is time to return local government closer to the taxpayer/residents.
It is very hard for us to have a true voice when the only avenue is to speak to on an issue when it is presented to the council for a vote or to be placed on a future agenda.
With council subcommittees, residents could appear to a more focused subcommittee to learn of, or express opinions or needs on, public safety, finance, engineering, finance or many other key departments within local government.
Expressing an opinion or need to a committee of three council members in session is much more focused and much more casual in form than that at a regular meeting of the full council. This provides better two-way dialogue and is conducive to better ideas and, in the end, a more informed public.
Would this structure change do any harm? I think not. I believe it can actually speed and improve the decision process using this focused action process before the council must make a final decision on important issues of the day.