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Citizens should attend council meetings

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The Oct. 4 Polson City Council meeting was packed to the rafters. The community turned out in full force, which in turn had a huge impact on the council’s wise decision to pass the fiscally responsible city budget that allows for overtime and raises, as originally proposed.

As a community, we need to represent ourselves more effectively and attend city council meetings. Our city will be making decisions over the next several years that will determine what Polson will be and how it will look for many decades into the future. It will determine the type of city our children and grandchildren will inherit.

Unfortunately, at every city council meeting, the mayor and council hear from an extremely small, vocal, and mean-spirited few. Our city council needs to hear from the greater citizenry.  

Murat Kalinyaprak spoke at the very end of the Oct. 4 meeting. He complained to the city council that due to the attendance and comments of Rotary members, Mission Bay residents in attendance and prominent business people in attendance, the council changed its mind in their budget vote. Is Kalinyaprak suggesting that these groups are not permitted to attend city council meetings, that these folks’ voices don’t matter?

The city council meets twice per month. If every citizen would commit to attend one city council meeting per month, the positive impact, as in the Oct. 4th meeting, would be huge. Of course we can and should have differing views. However, we can disagree without being disagreeable. It is critical that the council hear civil and rational dialogue. Now is the time for citizens to speak up and be heard. 

I realize that at the end of the day, attending a city council meeting is not high on anyone’s list of fun things to do. My hope is that our community realizes the impact of their attendance and will attend one meeting a month. Polson City Council meets on the first and third Monday of every month, in city hall. Polson is your town.

Ric Smith

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