Here in Salida our fiscal health and investment in infrastructure remains strong. The City Council continues to reduce debt obligations and build reserves. At the same time the city has been able to invest in infrastructure for the long-term benefit of the community. Revenues for business are up as reflected in increased sales and lodging tax receipts in 2012.
So why, if Salida’s fiscal health is strong, is the emotional state of the community in such turmoil? The voters have determined in strong numbers that the community will not pursue a home-rule charter. For some this reflects a lack of trust in the current local government and for others constructive effort on a charter did not seem possible in light of the apparent anger and hostility. Regardless of the reason for your vote the election is now behind us and we must now begin to focus on productive solutions and coming together.
Transparency seems to be a consistent theme of concern in the discussions about home rule. This has been a concern of mine and as a staff, with support from Council, we have taken steps over the past few years to provide much information to the public.
Regular Council meetings, work sessions and Planning Commission meetings are broadcast live on Optimum Channel 10. These meetings are replayed and are also available at the library. Meeting packets, agendas and minutes are available in advance on the city website as are past meeting minutes and packets. Citizens may sign up for an email notification of when Council packets are available.
We have a Facebook page, which also highlights press releases. Department heads write columns each week for the Mountain Mail, Salida Citizen and the city’s website. This is far more than any other government entity in Chaffee County provides and goes well beyond statutory requirements for Sunshine laws and public notice.
The Council welcomes productive input about the issues and challenges facing the city. All members of the community are welcome to attend meetings, a schedule of which can be found on the city’s website at www.cityofsalida.com, or by calling City Hall.
What further suggestions do you have to improve transparency or relations between local government and the community at large? My door is always open to the citizens of this community. We have so many methods of communication available whether it be face-to-face, television, internet, newspaper, telephone, email, Facebook or skywriting. There must be a method that works for you, please let me know what works best.
If you have concerns about transparency, please contact me with suggestions about ways to better communicate with the citizenry. The Council will discuss the composition of the Natural Resource Center Board during its work session on January 22. If you want to discuss the future direction of the city, please contact your Councilman or myself, or attend the comprehensive plan workshop at the SteamPlant on February 12.
This is a wonderful town in which we are all emotionally and financially invested. Let’s come together and move forward in a way that celebrates the good things we all love about this community.