Vital input and citizen perspective often come to city managers via the nine committees that advise, and sometimes help create policy. The Planning Board, for example, makes key recommendations on growth and development, and was tasked alongside the Waterways Advisory Committee to develop a workable solution on seawall construction standards. Post-election, the city is seeking 56 volunteers for all nine committees, all of which will be completely re-sat, with the exception of the Code Board, at the January 7th city council meeting.
“We are encouraging the residents at large to apply,” says Nancy Richie, the city staffer responsible for coordinating the application process. “The staff and city manager have no influence on the outcome. The full list of applicants will be given to each city councilor.” Historically, city councils were elected in March, with committee appointments following in June. Each city councilor was responsible for filling a seat on each committee.
The timing of the November election threw uncertainty into the roles of those now serving on committees. “The planning board seems to think they’ve been disbanded,” observed Councilman Larry Honig at the November 13 council meeting. Council voted 5-2 to extend all committee appointments through January 7 so committee work could continue and a clear re-appointment process could unfold. Even current members of committees who were appointed by a city councilor who did not run for re-election will have to re-apply, and a public workshop will be held on December 20th for the city council to vet applicants. “All seven will be presented with information on those who want to stay and new volunteers.”
As before, each city councilor will present his selected nominees at the January 7th meeting and each nominee will have to pass a council vote.
The issue of Code Board appointments remains unclear. Terms are staggered and governed by a separate ordinance. “[This board] is semi-judicial,” explains Richie. As of press time, the city was still researching through the city attorney if any seats on the code board will be available for re-appointment.
The deadline for applicants will be December 13. Citizens can apply in online using the volunteer application on the city website, email, mail or in person to Nancy Richie.
Committees seeking volunteers are:
• Arts Advisory Committee- responsible for civic projects involving art, art in public places.
• Audit Advisory Committee-provides accounting oversight to the finance department.
• Beach Advisory Committee-makes recommendations to maintain a high-quality beach, environmental standards.
• Beautification Advisory Committee- volunteers help create beautiful landscaping in public places.
• Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee- makes recommendations on quality of recreation projects and programming.
• Planning Board- responsible for reviewing and approving any changes to the city Comprehensive Plan.
• Utility Advisory Committee-makes recommendations on operating budget and oversight of the water utility.
• Waterways Advisory Committee- oversight of island canals and voicing needs of the boating community to the city.
Contact Nancy Richie at 239- 389-5003 for more information.