Commentary: Do you know how to make local government work for you?

John Brock

Your city council and mayor were elected to represent your interests in the efficient operation of the city. They work for you.

They represent the entire city and respond to the will of the people.

Contact and communication with them is vital for any representative form of government to function appropriately.

All municipalities maintain websites to make contacting the right department easy. If you have a specific question or concern, contact the appropriate city department for help and assistance.

These may include:

  • Building permits and inspections
  • Suspicious activity you see
  • Reporting potholes and blocked catch basins
  • Downed trees or power lines
  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Illegal dumping
  • Speeding

If you have an opinion on a policy issue, your city officials want to hear from you. Your idea will be considered. If a plurality exists that supports your idea, the city will take it up.
These may include:

  • Residential, commercial, and mixed use Zoning
  • Tree preservation and removal
  • Parks and greenspace acquisition
  • Stormwater and sanitary sewer
  • Streets and sidewalks
  • Police, fire and emergency services
  • Tax rates and levies to fund government operations

If your policy idea doesn’t gain traction, consider bringing the issue to a larger audience and build support for your idea. Organize a coalition of citizens that share your concern. Be respectful, accurate, open and complete.

These may include:

  • Letter to the editor in your local newspaper
  • Local social media
  • Neighborhood newsletters and community groups
  • Present your idea and support at a city council meeting

Another option is to be more directly involved

  • Join a planning commission, school board, or hospital advisory board
  • Support a new candidate that holds your values
  • Run for elected office yourself

— By John Brock

John Brock is a member of the Woodway Town Council. He has also served on the Woodway Planning Commission.

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