What decisions should local government make in the coming weeks, and what should they hold over for a while?
The world has been thrown a curve ball with the global pandemic of COVID-19. Within a very short time, we’ve traveled into unfamiliar and uncertain territory. COVID-19 has derailed life for the majority. Many are scrambling to find that last roll of toilet paper or last bottle of hand sanitizer at Walmart or Costco. Priorities have shifted and the focus has turned inward as we look for household supplies, figure out childcare, or face the possibility of decreased income or even unemployment. We are juggling our new circumstances and routines. SpringsTaxpayers.com is optimistic about the future, but we understand the stress our community is facing.
Citizen engagement is critical to government officials who make decisions that affect all of us. At this moment, everyday citizens aren’t paying attention to the meetings being held and decisions being made by city and county politicians. While we appreciate discussions among local elected officials and bureaucrats to consider other means of public testimony, most people don’t have the bandwidth to deal with this pandemic, and pay attention to local government meetings.
Part of our mission is to engage the public in being aware about what is happening in local government. Citizens’ heads are turned in another direction, and rightly so. This isn’t the time for politicians to discuss major issues, or to vote on changes that would impact taxpayers for years to come.
We call on city and county officials to put all decisions on pause that are not urgently needed for the health and safety of area residents.
Discussions and decisions that will impact us far into the future can wait, and can be put on the back burner. Some examples:
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) will still be here in a few months. That zoning should not be changed at this time.
- Developers do not need special districts approved right now
- Large amounts of money don’t need to be expended or moved around
If there is a legal requirement for meetings to be conducted, then the meetings should be held, but non-essential agenda items should be delayed until the COVID-19 virus has become well managed and things settle down. The Colorado State Legislature made a decision to shut down for two weeks so that no business will be conducted without citizen involvement.
We’re confident that elected officials know their constituents well enough to know what needs to be postponed. It’s no longer business as usual for the citizens. Government needs to follow suit and act accordingly.