The role of a municipal council is to effectively translate the wants, needs and desires of its citizens into action.
Traditionally, getting meaningful input from engaged and educated citizens has been a major challenge. On Feb. 1 the City of Rossland and Thoughtexchange launched an unprecedented process to engage citizens to address budget challenges.
“This new council is committed to working with our citizens to build a better Rossland,” explained Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore. “To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this kind of approach has been taken. Our intent is to directly engage as many residents as possible.
The team at Thoughtexchange along with the City of Rossland’s communication committee and city staff undertook the daunting task of distilling the budget down to the key elements critical to gaining a general understanding of it in a realistic amount of time.
Company President, Dave MacLeod says, “Thoughtexhange is about learning and building trust between the decision maker and those affected by the decision. It’s not a referendum. We’re not asking people to choose between scenario A or B. Instead we’re attempting to convey the challenges of the budget situation and asking the community for their thoughts and priorities about potential solutions.”
Residents began receiving email notifications to participate on Saturday, Feb. 1. For residents that have not received it, they can go to rosslandcity.thoughtexchange.info/self-register.
The process is not limited to those with online access. Council has enlisted the help of Seven Summits students to assist anyone who does not want to participate by computer. The students will be in the Legion on Friday, Feb. 6 from 12:45 to 2:45 p.m., to guide people through the process. Hard copies will also be available at City Hall for pickup and drop off. Input must be received by Feb. 8.
If all goes according to plan, more Rossland residents than ever before will learn more about the budget and have their thoughts heard by Council as decisions about the financial plan are made at the council table.
“The seven of us in this current council don’t have all the answers,” adds Councillor Andrew Zwicker. “Utilizing the remarkable passion and talents of all Rosslanders who want to have their say will guide us on a successful path we can all be proud of.”
The Thoughtexchange process is just the beginning for Rossland City Council. The newly established communications committee made up of citizens and council alike have recently completed an official Communications Plan to increase communications in innovative and cost effective ways.
To learn more about the Thoughtexchange/City of Rossland process go to: rosslandcity.thoughtexchange.info/self-register.