Andrew Trzaska | March 14, 2011
No members of the general public showed up to Monday’s Muskegon Heights City Council meeting.
With the trend of low attendance at meetings and much higher stakes in the city, Mayor Darrell Paige invited city residents and even those from surrounding communities to come to the city’s full meetings to get details directly about goings-on in the city’s government.
In light of recent high-profile media coverage that was generally perceived as negative, several council members expressed a desire to better communicate to the public the goings-on in the city and reduce any incorrect details.
Councilwoman Kimberly Simms especially stressed the work the police department has done in light of recent cuts.
“The fact that our police are doing a good job, how do we make that known?”
A sense of frustration ran through the discussion of how people often make up their minds based on the article they read without going to the source of the issues.
“They think we’re going into receivership, and Norton Shores and Fruitport are going to take our water,” said councilwoman Dorothy Scott.
Councilwoman Simms emphasized that even if negative perceptions rose about the City and its work, it did not eliminate the mayor and council’s duty to keep their city in the know.
“We have a responsibility to the constituents of Muskegon Heights,” said Simms. “We have an obligation to inform our constituents.”
Mayor Paige chose to take any future negative and inaccurate coverage in stride.
“Sometimes it comes out and it’s correct. Sometimes it’s not. But, we’re still getting it out there.”
Mayor Paige urged citizens to make it out to Monday full council meetings at 5:30 p.m. to hear the news first and get a chance to speak to their elected representatives about the issues directly.
Muskegon Heights city council meetings are held at City Hall every second and fourth Monday at 5:30 p.m. A public comment section is included near the end of every meeting for citizens to express concerns and ask questions.