The City of Clinton kicks off its series of district meetings next week, an annual effort to go into the neighborhoods affected by city policies, services and programs in order to inform residents and receive feedback.
The City Council established the meetings over a decade ago to provide citizens the opportunity to meet face-to-face with Council representatives and city staff in all five Clinton districts. At each meeting, the city manager, city staff and department heads review accomplishments and give project updates, answer questions, address concerns and receive input.
“We get a great deal of information every year from these meetings,” City manager Shawn Purvis remarked. “Our citizens are the eyes in the community and the district meetings provide another opportunity for them to share concerns and ideas. We always appreciate the chance to meet in a more informal and one-on-one setting to get to know residents.”
The goal is simple: open up lines of communication between citizens and City Hall and keep them open.
“We look forward to these meetings each year because we always receive great feedback and suggestions from our citizens,” Mayor Lew Starling has said.
Meetings are held at convenient locations for each district in order to encourage attendance. All meetings will be on Thursdays this year. Last year, the meetings were pushed back to March and April, a move to avoid inclement weather conditions that have plagued meetings in recent years. The city is maintaining a similar schedule this year.
The meetings, all of which will start at 7 p.m., are as follows:
• Thursday, March 9; District 4 meeting; Bellamy Center
• Thursday, March 16; District 3 meeting; City Hall
• Thursday, March 23; District 2 meeting; Beaman Street Fire Station
• Thursday, April 13; District 1 meeting; Beaman Street Fire Station
• District 5 meeting is to be determined
The last meeting is yet to be set due to the recent passing of District 5 Councilwoman Maxine Harris, a woman who served on the board for two decades. Harris served as a councilwoman since 1997 and was elected mayor pro tem by the Council in 2001. She made history by becoming the first woman to serve on the Council and was the first African-American to serve as mayor pro tem.
Purvis said he will be working with City Clerk Elaine Hunt and Starling to set a District 5 meeting “once City Council decides how they want to proceed with the vacant seat.” The Council meets this Tuesday, March 7, for its regular monthly meeting and the district meetings will begin two days later.
“It’s a time to receive some input from our citizens, hear their concerns and let them know what we’re doing,” said Purvis, who has noted increased attendance at the district meetings the last couple years. “Hopefully, we will have another strong turnout this year and some new ideas for how we can continue to improve our community better.”
Those with questions about the meetings can call City Hall at 910-592-1961. To find out the district in which you reside, visit the City of Clinton’s website, at www.cityofclintonnc.com. Under the “Government” drop-down menu, choose “Mayor and City Council” then follow the link to “Electoral districts.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.