I must admit, I was a little discouraged listening to the March 4 planning commission meeting audio when someone during the public comment period offered viewpoints on the community not knowing about the city's public meetings. The city had overlooked posting that evening's planning commission meeting on the city calendar featured on its website until earlier that same day and there were a few folks that shared their frustrations.
I guess I was discouraged because I had written about the upcoming March 4 planning commission meeting in three different places in the previous week's newspaper -- in a brief about meetings on the horizon, in a story about the planning commission's previous meeting and as a listing in the Community Calendar.
However, I realize not everybody reads the Philomath newspaper and for those that do, they may not read everything. (Believe me, the police log and fire calls attract a lot more reader attention than a brief on a city government meeting).
Anyway, I decided that I'm going to try to take a few extra minutes during the day to post news of upcoming public meetings on the newspaper's Facebook page and through Twitter. Today, I posted notice of the Park Advisory Board meeting as well as the school board's work session coming up tonight with links to the newspaper's information. And I scheduled for a notice of the March 18 planning commission meeting to go up on Facebook and Twitter mid-day Saturday (far enough in advance for people to plan to attend but also not too far ahead so they forget about it).
Social media channels have become the norm for information to get out to people. I guess I'll try a little harder to use those methods and perhaps it will make a difference.
By the way, it has not been my experience that the city doesn't post notices of their meetings. Each Thursday, the city recorder sends the media a list of meetings for the coming week (if you want to be added to the list, just contact city recorder Ruth Post) and both the Express and the Corvallis Gazette-Times writes about them. The city also has other ways that they inform the public, including on its website. The meeting not appearing in the city's calendar until the morning of the meeting was simply an oversight (yes, it's true, us humans will make mistakes from time to time).
As a matter of fact, the city's website includes all kinds of information from public hearing notices to paperwork on annexation documents. Just yesterday, the city posted a comprehensive powerpoint presentation that Mayor Eric Niemann had shared at the March 11 council meeting. Backyard burning guidelines were also posted.
For those who truly have an interest in city matters and want to go to a meeting, I believe the information is there for them. They just need to make an effort to head to the city's webpage, sign up to receive the city newsletter, get on the public meetings email list or go to the newspaper's website (and yes, you should follow the Philomath Express Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. Of course, we won't turn away subscriptions either; email me if you need help getting that done).