Let's connect the dots, shall we?
Citizens want the city to behave well, protect their interests, and manage their tax dollars responsibly - and frugally.
They often chant their dissatisfaction in emails to City Hall, on Facebook, and in letters to the editor, urging better outcomes and looking for improvements to the city’s livability.
But seldom, it seems, in person at city commission meetings. And often, past the point of no return.
It doesn’t have to be so.
Near the end of a recent Monday commission meeting, Commissioner Bill Read suggested moving the meeting time back to 9:00 AM in light of the fact that the citizens who chanted for a chance to address them at a more convenient hour, almost never do. The motion was not seconded but may come back after the November election installs at least one new commissioner.
As for the timing of active citizenship, many procrastinate by inaction at the earliest stages when reasonable changes can still be reasonably accommodated, and then are left in the almost useless position of railing against a fait accompli!
Now is the time for all good citizens to come to the aid of the city.
Summit Consulting, a Lakeland-based company is considering moving from its current location in Commerce Park, to a vacant parcel in downtown, which has been vacant for more than 30 years, generates no tax revenue, and costs the city to maintain.
Considering. This is not a one deal. It is a plan. It is subject to many stages of review, compromise, and reconfiguration. It may not happen at all, but citizenship allows - and requires - full participation for each individual who wishes to be heard on the matter.
No, you don’t get a vote. Not you, personally. You gave that vote to the seven commissioners who will listen not only to the planners, developers, and experts, but also to you, and me. This is representative democracy. Every citizen is eligible to cast a vote for every commissioner, who, while four of them must reside in one of the city’s four geographical quadrants, are elected to represent and serve us all.
Now is the time to speak and be heard. If you don’t, it’s on you.