The City of Morgan Hill this week launched an Open Town Hall web forum to allow residents and visitors to Morgan Hill to ask questions and offer input on City Hall policies, plans and decisions – focusing first on the proposed City budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The website is part of the City’s ongoing effort to facilitate engagement with the public, and a short-term attempt to publicize the City Manager’s fiscal year 2013-2014 budget proposal and seek public input on the document before the City Council is scheduled to approve an operating budget June 19.
“Open Town Hall is an online forum for civic engagement,” reads an introduction to the new Morgan Hill forum. “Read what others are saying about important Morgan Hill topics, then post your own statement. City officials will read the statements and incorporate them into their decision process.”
As of Wednesday, two forum topics into which users can post comments or questions were posted on the City’s Open Town Hall. These are titled “Moving Forward…” and “FY 2013-14 Recommended Budget.”
The first of these asks users to recommend ways to improve the City’s efforts to engage the community, and the second invites comments or questions on City Manager Steve Rymer’s proposed $31.6 million general fund budget for the year that starts July 1.
In addition to the Open Town Hall site, as part of the public engagement process for the proposed $31.6 million general fund budget, Rymer has offered to schedule one-on-one meetings of up to 30 minutes in length with individual residents who have questions or suggestions for the budget.
Comments and requests for such an appointment can be e-mailed to Rymer at [email protected]
Also, the City Council will conduct an all-day workshop on the budget proposal Friday, starting at 9 a.m. at the Community and Cultural Center, El Toro conference room, 17000 Monterey Road.
Registration to the Open Town Hall site is free, and though users are asked to supply their real names to the admin people they can request that their name not appear to the public when posting to the forum. A verified e-mail address is also required to register to Open Town Hall.
Open Town Hall is run by the nonprofit Peak Democracy, according to the website. Nine hundred communities across the country currently use Open Town Hall, with more than 103,000 users registered to those sites.
In the Bay Area, the cities of Fremont, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Ramon and Vallejo have Open Town Hall forums.
The City’s general plan update project has a similar forum on its own Open Town Hall site as well.
“Now is an exciting time for the City of Morgan Hill as the City embarks upon a major planning process, called Morgan Hill 2035, to help guide development, land use, growth, and conservation in the city over the next 20 years,” reads the introduction to the General Plan Update Open Town Hall.
The forum includes an online, voluntary, five-question survey titled “What’s great about Morgan Hill and where are there opportunities for improvement?”
The City of Morgan Hill Open Town Hall site can be found here.
The Morgan Hill General Plan Update Open Town Hall can be found here.