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Council Discusses Holding Town Halls

MONMOUTH — At the Monmouth City Council work session on July 18, a point of discussion was a response to the grassroots town hall meeting organized by former city councilor Marshal Guthrie.

That meeting was on June 22 at the Monmouth Public Library.

Though neither the mayor nor any member of the council attended the town hall, many expressed an interest in hosting a similar forum in the future. The aim of this forum, in whatever format is chosen, would be to give the citizens of Monmouth an opportunity to voice concerns outside of the citizen comments section of the monthly city council meetings.

“We’ve had a lot of comments (over) the last six months here, so the council was like, ‘well, what other formats are there that you can do to get input?’” said Scott McClure, Monmouth city manager.

McClure put forth several suggestions for the council to consider as an alternative or additional way for citizens to speak directly to the council outside of the citizen comment section: a standard town hall, coffee or breakfast with the mayor meetings, neighborhood meetings held in parks — even electronic town halls.

“However we do this, I’m all in favor of it,” said Councilor Tom Steinke. “I like the idea of the traditional town hall, where the whole council listens, but I’m open to whatever everybody else wants to do just so we do something.”

After consulting Guthrie, the council debated how best to go forward with their own efforts to engage the community.

The Monmouth City Council meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. in Volunteer Hall on Warren Street. City Council meetings are open to the public and have opportunities for citizens to voice concerns about the city and its government at each meeting. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 1.

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