Muskegon Heights Council Looks To Expand Public Communication Further Online

Andrew Trzaska | November 28, 2011

With the mayor stressing a need to still keep those not online in the know, the Muskegon Heights City Council explored ways to share information with city residents through social media and other electronic methods this week.

At Monday’s service meeting preceding the full council meeting, councilwoman Patrice Johnson suggested two new ways for the city to disseminate information.

Johnson sees using Facebook and posting video meeting recaps as a way to proactively share Muskegon Heights city news, public notices and new initiatives.

“It allows us to create an image of Muskegon Heights on our own terms,” said Johnson.

The council and mayor mostly supported the idea but desired more answers: who would maintain the page and record videos, would all council members would have a say what is shared, how it would interact with the existing city’s web site and how those who aren’t social media users would stay informed.

Mayor Darrell Paige saw new online initiatives as valuable but did not want the council to forget about residents who may not be on social media or even online.

Paige cited the city’s distribution of PSAs to local media as one way the city has attempted to keep people informed.

“We don’t want to abandon that,” said Paige. “We just need to be getting more and more out there.”

Considering the city’s existing website at cityofmuskegonheights.org, Johnson explained that while the main city website is important, it requires people to go out of their way to find the information and may not get updated frequently enough; on Facebook, information is actively pushed to citizens in a electronic place where many people already spend time.

Councilman Willie Watson saw the low amount of traffic to the main City of Muskegon Heights web site as a reason to try other online media.

City Manager Natasha Henderson suggested linking people between the city’s web site, a Facebook page, Youtube, and possibly other social media so all locations get increased traffic.

Who might shoot and post the meeting videos was not confirmed at Monday’s meeting; both a short recap video and full=length recording were suggested.

Johnson’s ideas gained major support from mayor pro tem Kimberly Sims; both council members recently won re-election on platforms that included expanding communication through social media.

If fully agreed upon in the coming weeks, a target deadling for working out remaining details would be the start of 2012.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst