May 15, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 7

More participation needed, not less

Letters to the Editor

The town of Coulee Dam is facing a lot of issues with the sewer plant, huge increases in utility rates, the impacts of a new school, needed improvements to our parks, sidewalks, and roads. We need a better and growing relationship with our local sister-cities, the USBR, the Park Service, the School District and the Tribes. Our local demographic is changing — the times are changing. We need the public’s involvement to help with thoughts, ideas and energy. We expect that our Town Council meetings will give us an opportunity to participate. We are a small and familial community with a need to petition our government … even if only verbally at our Town Council meetings.

Most agencies welcome the value of a “public” and participatory process. Very few have council rules like that recently imposed by the Coulee Dam Town Council. At the top of the Council Agenda for May 8th are these new words: “The Open Public Meetings Act gives the public the right to attend meetings, the public has no statutory right to speak at meetings. Citizens will NOT be allowed to participate during the regular meeting.”

At a time when ideas and involvement can serve us the most, one has to wonder why? Personally, I look forward to a future when Town Council meetings are open, transparent, and encourage participation. Hopefully that time will begin on January 1st, 2014. Register – vote … make a difference!

Greg Wilder

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