The City of Rochester’s Public Information Manager is reminding residents and business owners about a webpage that outlines several ways for citizens to get involved in municipal government and make their voices heard.
“Getting involved with the municipal government can feel intimidating if you’ve never done it before,” said Matt Wyatt, City of Rochester. “We’ve created a ‘Get Involved’ page on our website to help citizens understand the many avenues to access information, watch or attend public meetings, and provide input.”
Wyatt says that decisions made by elected and appointed officials are often affected by community involvement. According to Wyatt, the mission of the page is to encourage more public participation so officials can consider a diversity of ideas and opinions during workshops and public hearings.
“It’s more important than ever to watch the meetings and provide input if you feel strongly about something that affects you or the greater community,” said Wyatt. “The website offers a variety of options to get started, whether it’s attending a community roundtable or speaking before City Council.”
The ‘Get Involved’ page begins with a letter from the City Manager highlighting the need for transparency, trust in local government, accountability, and the importance of public participation. Further down, the page outlines how to register to vote, access meeting minutes and agendas, watch public meetings on cable and online, contact elected representatives, and much more.
The page also includes several community resources that encourage residents and business owners to frequent regularly, such as Community Coffee, the city’s monthly Podcast, The Rochester Post, and various social media pages.
“There’s a reason social media is at the end of the page,” said Wyatt. “I want people to understand that while Facebook is a great resource for links and information, it’s not a replacement for meaningful engagement. Commenting on Facebook is not a vote. You have to get involved and be aware of the facts and what’s really happening in the community. It’s my hope that this page will point people in the right direction and get them started on the right track.”
Wyatt says that he is committed to adding additional resources and improving the page over time.
“There is always room to improve and grow,” Wyatt added. “For now, the most important thing is to outline the many ways for people to access information, encourage ongoing communication with city officials, and empower people to use their voices when it comes to the future of their community.”
To learn more about the ‘Get Involved’ page and all the topics referenced above, visit www.rochesternh.gov/getinvolved.