GF Girl notes that the deadline to file as a Neighborhood Council member is quickly approaching – and that there are only 14 people that have filed so far. There are 9 councils total, and each should have 5 people on it – which means that there should be at least 45 people representing the various neighborhoods in Great Falls. And there’s only 14 that have expressed interest.
So what exactly are the Neighborhood Councils? The city has an information page – here’s some details:
The Neighborhood Councils were established to provide advisory input on all areas of government that affect their neighborhood. These could include areas such as finance, parking, planning, zoning, police, and parks, but they are not limited to these topics. The Councils are advisory to the City Commission, City staff, City Boards and Commissions, and other government entities as well. The Councils have also been utilized as sources of community outreach/education and input by private entities such as Energy West, Inc. and Benefis Hospital.
How does one become a Council member? The members of the Council are elected to two-year terms during the City General Election. To run for a Council seat, one must be eligible to vote in Cascade County, eighteen years of age, and a resident of the district that one wishes to serve. All of the nine Council districts are located within the corporate City limits of Great Falls. The residency requirement continues for the duration of the member’s elected term, and if a member moves from the district s/he will be required to resign from the Council.
I’m not going to chide anyone for choosing not to get involved with Neighborhood Councils – after all, I’m not ready to to throw my hat in the ring this time around (but likely will in the future). But I know – KNOW – that there are competent, smart, caring people in our community who would do a great job representing their fellow citizens and neighbors in this capacity.
And for everyone who has a beef with – for example – the city’s involvement with ECP/SME/etc, the fire & police levies that failed earlier this month, parks and recreation issues, fiscal management, local business and tourism – then this is a PERFECT opportunity to make a difference. Whichever side of an issue you’re on – you can help lead the discussion on these and other important issues.
One other thought: anyone who is involved with a Neighborhood Council should really, really, really consider creating a blog for their respective Neighborhood Council. Seriously. Other community leaders are doing it, and it is a great way to keep your fellow neighbors updated on what’s going on, solicit their feedback, and bring the community together. If you need help doing it, just holler 🙂