Weekly Feature

2017-07-13 / Editorial

Depew Village staving off meetings is unwise

Bee Editorial

It’s surprising that the Village of Depew chose to reduce the number of meetings for July and August, given the amount of construction and subsequent road closures that will consume the morning and evening commute for area residents.

School boards have lighter agendas with classes not starting again until September, but the same cannot be said for a municipality.

Zoning boards, planning, construction, budget review, grant applications and other government business don’t come to a halt in the summer, and although the village has always reduced its meetings for these months, there are sometimes exceptions, based on what’s in the pipeline for upcoming projects.

The board had time to determine whether or not to eliminate any meetings when it comes to construction concerns, between the proposal approved in October for construction now underway on Transit Road and the resolution for summer meetings the first week of April.

Transit Road work is continuing through Labor Day, with press releases from the state Department of Transportation continually issued for updates on the busiest thoroughfare in the village.

There’s also the issue of drivers cutting through residential areas to get to main streets such as Terrace Boulevard and Broadway, which Bloomfield Avenue residents brought to the board’s concern at its last meeting on June 26.

Village officials may call individuals who voiced concern at the meeting, but the community won’t have updates if there aren’t consistent meetings for The Bee to report on.

If the community needs to bring traffic concerns or any other issue to the board’s attention, the best way to get it to act, other than having a one-on-one conversation, is to come to board meetings.

There’s an immediacy to public comment that holds officials accountable when it comes to concerns such as those voiced by Bloomfield residents; if board members say in a meeting what they’ll do to address an issue, it’s recorded in minutes, it’s reported in local media, and it’s remembered by those in the audience.

If meetings are reduced for two months out of the year, it might discourage the public from attending meetings at all.

If people show up for one meeting and nothing is happening, they may feel like they wasted their time and focus on checking in with local government via the website instead of coming out, meeting officials and asking questions.

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