Representative government. When we all work together, it's what makes our democracy great. Problems arise when those elected to represent the people act in ways that don't align with those who elected them.
In Almont, government officials got a big reminder of that when residents packed the meeting hall to voice their opposition to a proposed ordinance that would dissolve the Downtown Development Authority.
The move seemed very sudden, and during the first reading of the ordinance, supporting information was offered. Details regarding where the existing funds would go, and how the projects and events currently under the DDA's purview would be funded if the DDA no longer existed. Residents were justifiably upset that a majority of council members voted to step forward with the ordinance to dissolve the DDA without crunching the numbers and having a future plan in place, and they let their elected representatives know just how upset they were.
The good news is, the council members listened. They also took a look at the numbers, which reflected that dissolving the DDA would not improve the financial condition of the village budget—it might even put a greater strain on it. While no formal vote was taken, consensus was reached among council members that dissolving the DDA would not be a good idea.
This is the way representative government should work. It's also a great reminder that government by the people and for the people needs the people to be involved. All residents are entitled to know what their elected officials are up to.
Staying informed isn't difficult. Tri-City Area residents can read what's happening in their local government right here in these pages. Residents can also easily request copies of meeting agendas and minutes from your local municipal clerk. Municipalities are also required to publish synopses of meetings, notices of public hearings regarding proposed ordinance changes, and any changes themselves in the Legal Notices section of this newspaper.
Knowledge is power and involvement is key to making sure your elected officials do indeed act on behalf of those who elected them.