Letters to the Editor
How wonderful it was to see so many citizens of Coulee Dam, energized and organized, at the special meeting held by Coulee Dam’s Town Council on Monday. The outcome of this meeting was to announce the Council’s intent to stop the WWTF project for a period of 90 days so that more information can be acquired, more relationships can be explored and so that the community can increase involvement. It must be disconcerting to the Council to have citizens show up at this late day to become involved. Honestly, that is always annoying in ANY endeavor. That said, we’re sorry we were late, but we’re here now and we’re here in numbers. The recent petition circulated around town asking the Council to do exactly what they agreed to do is proof that a wind is blowing through Coulee Dam.
The wind is carrying seeds of change, cooperation and investigation into policies that may no longer serve us as a community. We have such a rich history in Coulee Dam but we will be remiss if we don’t look to our future, and look now. The demographics of this community have changed in just the short six years my family has been here. We had virtually no children on the West side of Coulee Dam in 2007. We now have many, many young families with children, and it is a beautiful thing to see and experience. While we revere the august members of our community, our hopes and dreams lie with the young families to a large extent. These families need a reason to become a part of the process in Coulee Dam. They need to know what happens in a council meeting, what roles council members play on committees and how business is conducted. They need to know this so they can be a part of the change. They need to know how to interact and eventually become council members. They are our future.
Upon moving here we were forewarned that we should not expect cooperation from our town in virtually anything we asked of them. That is a very harsh statement and admittedly, one of which we cannot give specific examples. However, to be told over and over and over that the clerk’s answer to everything asked is “no” in one form or another and that the mayor acts autonomously, is an oppressive and sad thing to hear from one’s new community. We have lived long enough to know that everyone has a beef with someone in a small town and took this to heart when hearing this type of information from our neighbors. We wish we could say that what we heard was wrong, but it appears from our own observations that there is indeed an oppressive air and it is coming from within Town Hall. Again, this is the common perception.
It’s time to open the windows and allow the new wind to blow in. Let’s become a community that looks for a reason to say “yes,” “how can we get this done” and most importantly, “what is your new idea - we’re excited to hear it.” We have many treasures in our community in the form of experienced former city managers, safety engineers, planners, doctors, lawyers and chiefs. To NOT bring these people into a respectful and caring group of citizens who honestly care about the future of our town would, in our humble opinion, be reckless and uncaring.
In the meeting on Monday we asked for and received a “yes” from Mayor Snow! We stated that in the past we have had roadblocks in getting items put on the agenda for the council meetings. When we asked if we could submit items we would like to have on the agenda for this Wednesday’s meeting, we were given a resounding YES from Mayor Snow. We hope this will be one of many “YESSES” to come.
So that the citizens may know what we asked to be put on the agenda, these are the four items requested:
1. Petition from the Citizens (presentation)
2. Sewer Rate Increase roll-back (discussion item)
3. WWTF Location & Partnership - a financial comparison (discussion item)
4. Value Engineering - the process (discussion item)
It would be wonderful to have as much of the community attend this meeting as possible. Information gathering, sharing and discussing is the core of all successful endeavors. However, it cannot happen without involvement. If you haven’t attended a meeting before, rest assured that they are informative and very, very important. We cannot expect the town, the council or the citizens of Coulee Dam to be successful if we don’t work together; and that means, among other things, attending some meetings.
We would also ask our Town Council, and our citizens and neigbors to put away their anger, fear and resentment as was exhibited by some in the meeting on Monday. We and those we met with after this meeting were shocked at the levels of hostility shown. There can be no place for this type of attitude in a town that is looking towards change. Forget what happened last week — look towards next week. Don’t restrict the opportunities that are coming by missed or misused opportunities of the past. Let it go. Let’s move on in a positive manner.
There is a wind blowing through Coulee Dam. Throw open your windows and join us on a path of progress, partnership and cooperation between communities, agencies and councils. Let’s look for ways to say YES to our town and our future.