It’s a busy time for the Minot City Council, as we welcomed our two new council members with a three-hour meeting on July 6.
Along with Stephan Podrygula, who was re-elected as an incumbent, Carrie Evans and Tom Ross were elected to serve four-year terms on the council in June. The first few meetings can be a bit overwhelming for incoming members, learning how the meetings are conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order and wading through the constant flow of information that awaits all council members.
There’s always an adjustment period when you’re elected, a process compounded by one of the immediate issues the council must work on - next year’s budget. Yes, work on the 2021 budget is well under way, and the incoming council members will play key roles as the discussion continues until the final budget is officially approved on second reading in September. There is much work ahead for all of us.
There will be plenty of other issues, as well, as Tom and Carrie discovered at the July 6 meeting. Recycling. Landfill expansion. License issues. Zoning discussions. Construction projects. Capital improvements. The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these, and many more, create a considerable workload for all council members as we move forward in making our community the best it can be.
One thing that hasn’t changed, no matter who is sitting in the council seats or the mayor’s chair, is that we remain committed to conducting City business in the most transparent and professional manner possible. We have reopened City of Minot buildings to the general public, and that includes public meetings. The Council Chambers are set up with proper social distancing in mind, but there are plenty of seats available for those who have business before the council or the Planning Commission.
Although City Council chambers are open, I would encourage residents to attend the meetings in person only when necessary, such as when they are involved with items discussed during the meetings. All of our meetings are broadcast live in three different ways: on Facebook, on the City’s YouTube page, and on local cable television channel 19. All meetings are archived on our YouTube page, so you can watch the meetings later if you were unable to watch live.
In addition, if you would like to submit comments directly to the City Council, there is a public comment portal on the City’s official website www.minotnd.org. It’s simple to use, and I’d encourage residents to use the portal as another way to make their opinions known.
The municipal form of government works best when members of the community are actively engaged in the process, and aren’t content to lob complaints from the sidelines without providing realistic alternatives or solutions. Ask any council member: A phone call or email directly to us will be much more effective than a complaint posted solely on social media. If there is an issue you feel strongly about and want your voice heard, we all encourage you to reach out to us.
As a council, we are seven individuals with varying opinions and philosophies who were elected to serve the members of our community with professionalism, transparency, integrity, compassion, and dedication. We’re going to disagree at times, and engage in sometimes difficult discussions on how to move forward with Minot’s best interests in mind. There’s no way we’re going to all agree on everything, and that’s good – disagreement and the accompanying debate can be healthy when it happens in an open forum, and when proper protocols are followed so the discussion doesn’t deteriorate into everyone talking, with nobody listening.
So, welcome back, Stephan, and welcome Carrie and Tom. Our community is looking to us for leadership, vision, and stability. Let’s go to work.
Sincerely, City Hall.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.