I sat in my town’s City Hall building, not really sure what to expect, as I had never attended any sort of political event. I was the first to show up, so I questioned if I was even in the right place. David Dickinson, the man in charge of District 8, happened to be there as well, so I was not totally alone. I talked to him briefly about different things. He welcomingly asked me what I was there for, along with where I go to school and if I did in fact, live in the city. He informed me of several other political events that would be taking place in our little town in the weeks to come, one of which is an election. Out of the board members that would also be at the meeting that night, five of them were running in the election.
More and more people started to fill in the empty chairs of the room, until finally it was time for the meeting to begin. It was more casual than I was expecting, so I felt more at ease. The mayor, John Howard, opened the meeting with the normal procedure that the usual attendees and board members knew to follow. All of which was obviously new to me, so I just went with the flow.
The meeting started with a Call to Order. John Howard did the invocation. He then read through the Roll Call of the board members to see who was in attendance and who was not. Following that, he did the Approval of Agenda and Approval of Consent Agenda. This one section on the Agenda that I had in my hand looked as though it would take several minutes to cover, however, we were onto the next item with seconds it seemed like. It was really all in the hands of the board members. The mayor spoke so fast through each item, as he had a set of words to read, but somehow everyone on the board was able to follow along and say, “I” as it was their time to. I, certainly, was clueless and was not able to keep up.
Next, on the agenda was the Public Presentation. A woman, along with two others that were there for her assistance, had a proposal for the board that she needed approval for. She wanted to dedicate the month of April to being “Child Abuse Prevention Month.” She handed out brochures and spoke of many different reasons as to why she felt this was necessary. She gave a numerous amount of shocking statistics, which even shocked the mayor. After her speech and proposal, the mayor and the other members went through the process of getting the idea authorized. The month of April in the City of Monroe is now dedicated to Child Abuse Prevention.
Next was Public Forum. This gave anyone who was in attendance the chance to speak on different things that they felt needed to be addressed. One man made comments of how he wanted more directory signs to be posted, so that visitors knew where our different attractions were, such as Children’s Park. There was also a huge group of older people who felt very strongly of getting some Pickle Ball courts installed somewhere within the city. They even brought their sports equipment, along with some facts about the game. The group proposed an idea of where these courts could be placed, and how it will benefit not only them, but several residents in Monroe.
Everything was going well, and running very smoothly in the meeting, but then came a huge disagreement. The board members proposed that they will soon be adding more houses to the town. They said that there would be no more than three acres taken up by this, but that there could be up to ten houses on each acre, and that the houses would only be about twenty to twenty-two feet from the road. When they asked for the audience opinion, one man voiced his opinion that this was not a good idea. He was worried it might cause congestion, that the houses would be low quality, and that they would all be crunched on top of each other. The members of the board quickly began to tell him that they have already talked through all the issues and that there was nothing to be concerned about. However, one of the board members actually heard what this man was concerned about and began to question his own group’s idea. This started a whole different argument, that went on for at least twenty minutes, until finally someone got the last words which were, “we will see how this goes… we’ll see.”
After the issue was put to rest in this meeting, the mayor closed by reading more amendments, along with the Adjourn. Then, the whole meeting was over with.
Although I did not know what was going on at the beginning of the meeting, I am so glad that I was able to attend the City Council meeting. I felt so involved in my community and I was relieved to put a face with a name of who is in charge in my town. I also found a new respect for the members, as they have those long meetings every first and second Tuesday of every month, along with other events that they are required to attend. This political event really opened my eyes to what must go on to get things done in my sweet little town.