The city operates as a representative form of government as set up by the State of Utah. Because cities get their authority from the state, we operate within a set of rules. I am not writing about basic civics, but rather your part in it, and to encourage you to be more of an active voice.
You have a voice outside of an election. Your elected officials represent you. You can reach out to them by phone, text, email, or in other ways. Their contact information is in every magazine and on the website. In a representative form of government, you should always feel you can reach out to share your thoughts on the issues of the city.
In every public meeting, we offer a period of public comment. That public comment period is not currently limited to those who are present. You can submit a public comment in writing in advance of a meeting to the city recorder. It is a public record; you must state your name and address with your comment. You can bring any concern or subject forward that you want to be considered.
Public comment can be awkward because public comment is not a question-and-answer format. Utah law prevents discussion that isn’t publicly advertised in advance. Often, your council members would like to answer your questions or comment on the spot. The law requires public notice for back-and-forth discussion topics. They simply can’t address that topic until it is on the agenda.
Your citizen voice matters. I try to keep people informed. I have made it a point to prepare for meetings by listening to citizens before meetings, so I am truly representing you. This requires you, the citizen, to share your voice. I hope you always feel you can reach out to those you elected.
Personally, I have always taken the position that, if a path forward for the city makes sense to me, I should be able to explain it so that others can agree and understand. I am representing you, so I share with you the logic I use to represent you. If those I represent can’t understand what I see, maybe I should be considering what they are seeing. This, to me, is the essence of representing people. We are in this together. It is our city. We collectively set the path forward. You should always feel there is a way for your voice to be heard. You equally have a responsibility to share that voice so it can be considered.
Mayor Dave Maughan