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Matthes plans Town Hall
Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes has announced plans to hold a Town Hall meeting.
Voicing his intention at Tuesday night’s city council work study meeting, Matthes said giving city residents a chance to speak to the mayor about a range of topics has been his plan for a while. The meeting would be held at the Port Orchard City Hall in the early evening, he said, and have a fairly open format.
He intends to hold the first town hall sometime before the end of summer, he said.
“I want to have a public meeting,” he said. “We need to have people talk and tell us what they think.”
Matthes asked the city council if any council members would be interested in attending. But the council members showed little enthusiasm for joining the mayor’s meeting.
“Isn’t that the purpose of our council meetings?” Council member Rob Putaansuu asked.
The mayor said it was fine that none of the council seemed like they would attend, and said the purpose of the meeting was for him to get feedback from the citizens.
Council members did offer advice to the mayor about the format of the meeting, with council member Fred Chang suggesting that each Town Hall meeting have a specific theme to work from. Chang said when citizens come forward behind an idea, such as how to better improve the city’s downtown, it can make for a more successful format.
“It works to have a theme,” Chang said.
Port Orchard Public Works Director Mark Dorsey cautioned the mayor that an open format might allow for too broad of ideas, ranging from how to create a better city transportation system to “my neighbors lawn is ugly” kind of complaints. Dorsey said the city has a public complaints department, and he feared individuals could use the time as a space to grandstand about small issues.
“We have a complaint system,” he said. “If we opened it up to a general forum, there might be a lot of complaints.”
Matthes emphasized that staff would not be on hand to field general complaints, and that the idea could take a more defined shape after one or two meetings. First though, he would wing the format and see what people had to say.
“The first topic would be whatever people want to tell me about,” Matthes said.
Any announcement about the time and place of a Town Hall meeting can be found at www.cityofportorchard.us.