Thursday, April 12, 2006

Speak up - Selectmen look to communicate more with public


Most selectmen agree they want to enhance communications with the public this year, though opinions differ on whether meetings should take place outside of town hall.

"I would like to have meetings with the public in different places. One thing I’ve heard from people around town is, ‘We want to hear more about the issues,’" said Selectman Scott Gross. 

Gross said selectmen could tour areas of town in need of attention such as Grasmere Town Hall or different fire stations to best address residents’ concerns first hand.

"What better way to tell the community, ‘Yes we know the condition of this fire station,’" than by taking a trip to that location," said Gross, adding that members of other boards could also be invited on the trips.

However, one longtime member of the board said such outreach efforts have met with limited success in the past.

"When you’re at a different location, you’re at a location where you can’t do things you’d expect to do, like make copies," said Selectman Phil D’Avanza.

D’Avanza also noted past incarnations of the board had tried to host meetings in the Pinardville and Grasmere sections of town, though only a handful of residents attended those meetings.

"Only a couple of people showed up, and finally (former Selectman) John Sarette said, ‘Goffstown Town Hall is at 16 Main St.,’" D’Avanza said.

Gross said he also hoped to reach out to interest groups within the community so they could serve in an advisory capacity. 

For example, he said he had discussed the idea of a senior advisory committee with John Burpee, the Medford Farms resident who successfully led an effort to update elderly tax exemptions through a warrant article at this year’s Town Meeting. Selectman Vivian Blondeau said she had a similar conversation with senior citizens during an event at the Village Eatery on Main Street.

The comments came during a discussion of what selectmen saw as the primary goals of the board’s current incarnation. 

Selectman Nick Campasano reviewed his goals, while board members also considered a spreadsheet created by Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux that brought together selectmen’s previously stated goals.

Campasano listed keeping Goffstown affordable, increasing citizen involvement, and giving more attention to the Lynchville/Danis Park neighborhood and the Fire Department as being among his primary goals as a selectman.

Desruisseaux and Campasano agreed to work together to combine all selectmen goals into a single document that board members could review regularly for status updates.

After some discussion, Gross said selectmen should review their goals on a quarterly basis.

"We should do it at least quarterly, because we’re going to be asking department heads to do it at least monthly," Gross said.


Reproduced by the Goffstown Residents Association.