Our View: Civic service extends beyond council
Council applicants should consider boards, commissions
July 21, 2010
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs City Council has gotten a resounding response from residents eager to replace Councilman Jim Engelken.
We like to see that desire for community involvement and service. But only one of the 10 people who have applied will be appointed to the council seat, and we'd like to encourage the others to refocus their enthusiasm toward one of the city or county's boards or commissions.
Several of the people who have applied for the council spot have indeed served in other capacities, including the three current planning commissioners. Others have a less extensive record of civic service, however. It's noteworthy that although there are 10 applicants for one council seat, the city has several unfilled openings on the Historic Preservation Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning Commission and Tax Advisory Board.
These volunteer board positions might be less popular because they require a time investment and carry less influence than a City Council seat. But they are important recommending bodies to our city officials. We also encourage other residents who might have interests or expertise in those areas to consider applying for a board or commission. It's a valuable way to serve their neighbors and help the city plan its future.
We also call on the city and the Routt County Board of Commissioners to make sure they're honoring the time and effort of those volunteer boards. It can be frustrating for a volunteer board to go through the due diligence of creating a plan, only to have the city or county reject it or choose not to act.
For example, the recent back-and-forth about the disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park might have been avoided if the City Council had acted sooner on the conceptual design plan from the Parks and Recreation Commission. The council postponed action indefinitely Aug. 4, nearly a year ago. Commissions and boards only will attract members if those who participate feel as though their voices and recommendations are being heard and addressed.
The City Council was scheduled to narrow its slate of 10 applicants down to three to five finalists Tuesday night. We thank those candidates for their interest and suggest they find other ways to serve — or continue to serve — through the board and commission venues available.
Applications for boards are available at City Hall, 137 10th St., or they can be downloaded here. For more information, call City Clerk Julie Franklin at 970-871-8248 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.