Last week, I attended a Bossier City Council meeting. Unfortunately, it had been a while since I had been there. Even so, I always learn so much in being there and I walk away feeling motivated and excited.
Have you been to a local government meeting lately? Have you ever attended one of these meetings? By living in a democracy, we have a voice. In terms of local politics, one of the best ways that we can participate in the political process is to attend a city council/town council meeting, a school board, a police jury meeting, a metropolitan planning commission meeting, etc. These are are just a few of the local governmental bodies that hold regular meetings which are open to the public.
It is amazing what you can learn by attending one of these meetings. First of all, you get to see our system at work. Without attending one of these meetings, it is virtually impossible to know what goes on behind the scenes and to know everything that goes into making our community operate to the benefit of us all. I marvel at the process. I learn so much that not only helps me in regard to my position at the newspaper, but I also learn how the process works.
At these meetings, a wide array of issues are discussed. No doubt, you get to learn about practically everything going on in our community. For sure, you benefit by getting to know your elected officials. And, you will also get to hear other positions and opinions as they relate to what is going on in our community. When is that new street, highway or bridge project going to start? When is it scheduled to be completed? What will have to happen in between from the beginning of the project to the end of the project? What projects are being planned and what goals are being set for the future? What community growth is anticipated in the future? What infrastructure improvements are planned for the future?
Meeting agendas are posted well in advance of the meeting and they are made available to the public. Procure an agenda and study it. Find an issue you are interested in. Attend. Speak up. Ask questions. State your opinion if you so choose.
Get to know your city council members, police jury members, school board members, etc. As your representatives on these various governmental and municipal bodies, we elect these dedicated and committed individuals to their various seats to serve us, to serve our community. How can they properly serve if they do not know how we feel on a particular issue?
However, be aware, these meetings are for the purpose of conducting the business and operations of the particular governmental body in session. These meetings are not a public forum. So, even though the public is allowed to comment, public comment time is usually limited at these types of meetings.
We all need a better understanding and knowledge of local politics and the issues that impact our community, the issues that affect us all. And, if you want to see your local tax dollars at work, attend one of these meetings. In doing so, you will quickly see how your local tax dollars are at work for the betterment of our community.
And, most importantly, your involvement will make our community a better place for us all.
Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org