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County considers seeking more public input

August 28, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Commission members are discussing the possibility of holding periodic town meetings to update the public on issues facing the county.

The idea came up Thursday's commission meeting when Commission member Rusty Morgan said he senses there is misinformation about certain issues in the county.

Town meetings would be a way of keeping the public up to date on issues, as well as getting input from citizens about the issues that are important to them, said Morgan and Commission member Dale Manuel.

Morgan said although commission members are already "working ourselves half to death," he thinks the meetings would be beneficial.

"It can be messy. It won't be easy," Morgan said.

Commission members are talking about having town meetings at different locations. Commission members could talk about their areas of expertise, commission members said.

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For example, Manuel works with parks and recreation issues, Commission member Jim Surkamp studies emergency medical services issues, Commission member Jane Tabb specializes in farmland protection and Jefferson County Development Authority issues, County Commission President Greg Corliss concentrates on Jefferson County Planning Commission work and Morgan concentrates on areas like affordable housing, Manuel said.

Manuel said commission members would have to be careful that they do not deliberate on issues during the meetings, such as how to spend money on projects.

"Outside of that, I think town meetings are a great idea," Manuel said.

Manuel said town meetings are a good way to exchange ideas with the public on major issues facing the commission, like re-examining the county's land-use laws and county office building proposals in the downtown area.

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