I want to thank everyone who has weighed in on the override so far. Our two listening sessions were very well attended, and we have received well over 1,000 responses to our survey. Additional questions and comments have come in via my office e-mail, email@example.com.
One of the issues that came up in the listening sessions was that we need to reach out to every sector of the city, including people who can’t go out to an evening event. I’m taking that very much to heart, and I am going to try to set up more informal listening sessions at different times and places.
On Wednesday, October 17, I will be at the Milano Center at 12:30 p.m. for an informal conversation over coffee and cookies. This event is geared toward senior citizens and will take place immediately after the lunch served by Mystic Valley Elder Services. If you would like to attend lunch, please call 781-662-6886 to sign up; there is a $2 suggested donation. If you don’t want to have lunch, simply join us at 12:30 p.m. Transportation is available from the Council on Aging if you call in advance.
I look forward to scheduling more such sessions in the coming weeks.
Several other things came through loud and clear in the listening sessions. One was the need for clarity and transparency. Before they vote, residents want to know how we are currently managing the budget, how we would use the override monies if it passes, and what our long-term plan is. I am very committed to openness and transparency, and as a first step I have been posting a series of articles on the City website, www.cityofmelrose.org, and in local newspapers, that explain how the budget works and what the issues are. These articles all include links to other resources so those who are interested can do further research. Please take a look at those articles, and stay tuned for information about more community conversations in the near future.