By Tony Wittkowski | Local Government Reporter | The Times Herald
MARINE CITY – Mayor Raymond Skotarczyk said he has been approached numerous times about holding a town meeting over the years.
Now residents will have their chance.
With the public budget hearings set to begin, the Marine City Commission scheduled a town hall meeting to take place in a more “informal setting” for residents to voice their opinions.
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Washington Life Center, 403 N. Mary St.
“The budget workshops are coming up and we would like feedback from residents,” Skotarczyk said. “This will give us a better idea of what they want us to spend money on. In the past, I have been approached by people who complained about the access to meetings.”
Budget meetings are scheduled for March 24-26 from 6-8 p.m. at the Marine City Fire Hall, 200 S. Parker St.
Commissioner Lisa Hendrick said there was nothing specific that prompted the commission to hold the meeting. She said it is important for residents to not only show up to the town hall meeting, but speak their minds as well.
“We want to hear what the tax payers are expecting,” she said. “Are there things they want to be cut? What do they want us to spend money on?”
Hendrick said she does not like the format at the regular meetings, where public comment only allows for residents to engage the commission for five minutes.
“They can see us twice a month, but they shy away from the formal setting,” she said. “We’ve all been wanting to have these meetings, but things get so busy at times.”
According to Skotarczyk, there have been two other town hall meetings during his time as mayor, but were held by the chamber of commerce.
“Chief (Don Tillery) and I made ourselves available as a ‘meet the mayor and chief’ kind of thing six or seven months ago,” he said. “We got very few people to that. However, if people show up and they think this meeting was worthwhile, I would consider holding more of these.”
Tillery, Marine City’s police chief and interim city manager, said Washington Life Center was selected as the location because it was one of the buildings in town that could hold a large number of people.
The venue was also chosen because it provided a more comfortable setting.
“We are trying to get people involved,” Tillery said. “This is a big push by the mayor. He wanted to reach out and make sure people had a chance to talk to the commissioners in an informal setting.”
(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 10, 2015)