Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Last Wednesday evening, in cooperation with the Eudora Chamber of Commerce, we held a candidate forum. The forum gave the citizens of Eudora a chance to see and hear from their candidates for both the School Board and City Council in the upcoming election. This was held at the City Council Chamber. The room was packed. This was the first time since we began our news and information site that the City Council chamber room was full. I want to publicly thank all those that attended this event. It was a pleasant surprise to see so many people in attendance and supporting their community.
Since August, I have been at every City Council meeting and Planning Commission meeting. Since October I have been at every School Board meeting. The thing that has been most prominent at all of these meetings, is how empty the general public sections have been. With the exception of the meeting when the proposed sand pit operation north of town was discussed, I do not believe there has been a City Council meeting with more than four citizens in attendance.
Here are two other examples. At a recent Planning Commission meeting, there was no one in the audience section. This past Saturday, I attended the Meet Your Legislator session with our State Senator Tom Holland. He holds one of these meetings on the last Saturday of every month during the legislative session at the Township Fire Station. This is his opportunity to hear from his constituents on topics that matter most to them. With the legislature tackling a very important issue like school financing, you will never have a better opportunity than this, to have your voice heard in the state capitol. There was no one in attendance. It would be nice to see more of the public attend and participate in these town hall meetings. After all, it is your state legislature.
At every City Council meeting, towards the beginning, the public has the right to come up and speak to the council on whatever topic they wish to discuss. A few weeks ago, there were four citizens who got up and spoke to the City Council. Mayor Scott Hopson remarked in that meeting that “I think this is a record for the number of public speakers at a City Council meeting.”
I had a reader and member of the Public Safety committee, David Gerstmann, comment to me via email that “We need more citizens coming to City Council meetings.” How many knew we even had a Public Safety Committee? I know I didn’t until I was alerted that there was a Public Safety meeting last fall (and yes, we passed along that notice to the public).
I talked a couple of weeks ago to an intern with the Eudora Historical Society about his work with this group. Other than a small number of people, can anyone say they knew the Eudora Historical Society existed or that they have a museum in this town? Can you answer the question “Where the name Eudora came from”?
P.S. your going to see that intern and the Historical Society featured here very soon.
I hear frequently the following statements, and I am paraphrasing here: Our water sucks and our taxes are too high. If you feel this way, then it’s time for you to step up to the plate. Do you need to attend every meeting? No. How about attending just one of those meetings? Get involved with the Historical Society or the Library or the Public Safety Commission or whatever group you chose. Find out what is going on in town and be part of it.
Eudorareporter.com will continue as we have, to feature events and happenings around the community. If you know of an event or if there is topic that you feel should be brought to the public’s attention, you can always email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Monday night, the City Council will again be discussing possible changes to the city utility services. In particular, how they can assure that someone in need of electrical service due to medical situations and doesn’t have the money to pay, can avoid having their service cut off. While this may not directly affect you now, it might very well affect a family member or friend or, God forbid, you one day down the road.
The School Board will be meeting in a little over two weeks and tackle the difficult topic of how to cut money from their budget. If you have a student in USD 491, are related to one or just know of one, then this will affect you.
We all lead busy lives. Work, family, groups and organizations take your time. By taking the time and becoming an active participant in the community, you have a say, you have an impact, and you help change the future of Eudora. We all contribute to the tax base in Eudora to keep this town and School District functioning. We have a right to have a say in how it gets spent.
Stand up, vote and be a part of something. Attend a School Board or City Council meeting. Be informed and get involved in what is going on around you and your community.