I need help with a list of questions for town council.

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Tycer's picture
Tycer
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I need help with a list of questions for town council.

I just moved to a new town and our annual budget meeting is coming up soon. If the budget meeting is run like the town council meetings, I will have three minutes to address the council at the beginning of the meeting. Citizens are not permitted to participate in meetings at any other time than this.

I need a list of questions, points of discussion and anything else you can think of that I can use to fill my three minutes and perhaps print and hand to the council before I speak.

Thanks in advance!

 

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

I am looking to stimulate the council members to thinking forward so they may make decisions less detrimental to the town as things unfold.

strabes's picture
strabes
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

off the top of my head...

"Do you realize we're hostage to a debt-based monetary system that takes all power out of our community's hands unless you help us come up with a local trading/monetizing system?  If we don't do that then we're just a little administrative district of a massive pyramid system that is in the midst of collapse.  What makes all of us interact with each other at this moment is the Federal Reserve Note and credit/debit cards.  If that collapses, we will no longer interact cooperatively, but only in destructive & criminal ways unless we have an alternative system that keeps us in a cooperative mode.  If I start working on such a system, can I get your support?"

 

ashvinp's picture
ashvinp
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

If your town is in debt to any large financial instiutions, I would advise them to hire attorneys to help them void those contracts since they were probably fraudulently created in some way or another.

ejanea's picture
ejanea
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

As a councillor in local government,  I would make some other suggestions also.

I'm not sure whether your local gov system is the same as ours,  but there is usually no opportunity for dialogue at these events.  A simple clear statement that may provoke questions from councillors is the best tactic.

Be careful not to attack the councillors.  People who are angry or agressive have their message undermined by their behaviour.  This is not a criticism of the message,  but, for some councillors,  it is sometimes hard to keep the behaviour separated from the message.  I have seen some councillors "switch off"  when attacked...  they seem to have no comprehension of how intimidating the forum can be,  or how passionate their constituents might be.

There is also not much use attacking people that you are trying to persuade with strategies that are beyond their domain.  For example,  when arguing from within the system, I have found that it is often more productive to point out that insurance companies requiring risk averse strategies don't look well on government agencies that ignore risks that are well known...  such as peak oil and environmental risks.

I would be pointing out the costs to the town of policy that is risky  and that it might just be the risk that is costly.   As it's a budget meeting, money should attract their attention!   

I attended our "public consultation" meeting recently.  It was useful for me.

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Thanks! Great start!

No worries about me attacking anybody. I simply feel the need to get their heads thinking about the real future and planning for it. I'm going in there somewhat blind as to their spending habits and taking the time right up front to speak to them puts me at somewhat of a disadvantage.

Strabes. Right on man. I'm not sure I can devote the time to creating a local method of exchange myself, but there are many who can. I need to figure your suggestion out. Very cool. Thanks.

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

ejanea,

What specific things have you been able to accomplish as a councillor to help your community weather this coming change?

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Posts: 610
ejanea,

ejanea,

What specific things have you been able to accomplish as a councillor to help your community weather this coming change? Even the smallest suggestions I can make will be a good start for me after smack them with Strabes opener.

ejanea's picture
ejanea
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

My council is in a regional area with five towns and considerable agricultural (grain growing) land and infrastructure.  I live on one acre within a township on a very low income. (Council allowances are low enough that I still qualify for the wquivalent of social security here.) It is politically fairly conservative,  though not as conservative as US political thinking.   (I have lived for a number of years in both Canada and the US.)  Just setting the scene here.

My first opportunity was to change some of the policy statements to include environmental and energy cost issues.  Getting statements in th policy statements gave me a "foot in the door."

I made sure that I was on the audit committee so that I could speak with a little more authority on financial issues.  I did not come from a "money" background, so this has been a huge learning curve and a lot of work,  but useful.)   

There are several climate change deniers on council, and while I am not interested in an argument about whether or not this is happening  (I happen to believe that it is)   I have been able to change use of energy and water by council by pointing out that risk assessments by insurance companies are now considering these issues.  These are overall attitude changes to resource use.   This makes the resource issue more than merely upfront cost.

There are going to be huge changes in the next several years ("the next twenty years will be completely different form the last twenty years") which is why I returned to this small town where I am known and have friends and relatives.  Much of my time has been taken with resource management and community support and development.  I think that communities will need to be more self-sufficient and resilient in the future.  

I have been instrumental in council supporting and partially funding a community garden that is associated with the community hospital and the school.  I believe that this serves two purposes...  food security and community support.

I have (and I'm still working here)  to fund and support a "men's shed"  ie another community supported instrument to assist with community development.  I am very concerned about the young men in our community...  these men will  be our labour when TSHTF,   in a manner of speaking,  and we can't afford to "lose" them.

I would like to add another point.   Local government does not run at a profit.  Most of the assets owned by local government are non-revenue producing assets that depreciate over time.  Any business that runs with these constraints is severely limited in operating budgets, and so it is for councils.

Questions that I would ask would be about...

1. risk management (particularly environmental risks  

2. energy use (we know that this will become very much more expensive)  

3. long term financial sustainability (this includes consideration of depreciation and replacement costs for infrastructure that is seen as essential.)

In my experience,  the best way to get people's attention to these issues is point out the financial risk that they are taking.  I hope that this is useful.

 

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

Very.

ejanea's picture
ejanea
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Posts: 53
Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

I've been outside weeding the garlic patch.   Thinking.

I know that some of these things seem like a roundabout way of getting to what you want,  and community development is often overlooked,  but if you go in "like a bull at a gate" you'll end up either exhausted, defeated or both.  I don't think that it's a compromise to have a long term plan,  begin carefully and keep going in the right direction.  It reminds me of sitting in a traffic jam when I go to the city...  it's very stop and start,  can be frustrating at times,  but as long as you're going in the right direction you will get there!  

Have you ever thought of standing as a candidate for local government?

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Posts: 610
the need to plagiarize.

No no, roundabout ways work wonders. Passive/aggressive is the Southern way and my mom taught me well.

If I have a style, it's make a bold, head-snapping statement and then soften and compliment sincerely on the good things, leaving behind healthy seeds to flourish and grow.

It has been suggested I run for an office. Most likely not. I do not think I want to be anywhere in government when it crashes and burns. I'll be more useful on the rebuild. Perhaps what I'm doing by politely challenging the council publicly is setting the stage for just that.

But I need speech writers of the CM Community kind. I'm not articulate enough, nor schooled enough to put pen to paper without plagiarizing the work of more educamated folkWink

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Posts: 610
double post

double post

ehood's picture
ehood
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Re: I need help with a list of questions for town council.

I served on an Ecomonic Development Commission in a city that had been downsized by the closing of a military base. There was Federal money coming into the city for business development and other business models.  What comes to my mind and depending on how much time you have, I would reserach the people on the council. You could start with the meeting minutes records, ask to see bios or read any web pages that give background on the members. Look for patterns in the records where issues are being resolved, delayed or not being dealt with. You'll see who else has stood up in the meetings and spoke and perhaps you could contact those people as well for their view of what is happening. You can also go to the City Planning office and let them know you have just moved to town and want information on what the city is doing. You can also meet with the Chief of Police or an Community Officer and ask about crime, staffing, funding, etc. You will quickly develop a sense of what is going on in the city and the leadership.

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