Earlier this year, Morgan Hill began a pilot program in which community volunteers advise the city council on a variety of issues.
The 33-person Engage Morgan Hill Community Action Group is long on familiar names, including former mayor Steve Tate, former council member Caitlin Jackimowicz and Chamber of Commerce President John Horner.
Engage Morgan Hill will meet approximately once a month for two hours, discussing topics ranging from infrastructure to the city budget. The issues borne out of the meetings will be presented to the council to help inform its decision-making process.
The Engage group is a part of the city’s ongoing efforts to garner community input. Recently the city also launched a portal on the site Polco, which is used to poll city residents and ask for feedback.
“The focus of this process is both educating and engaging the community regarding what services the city provides, how city services are provided, and the funding sources/options for services as we look toward the future,” city staff said in an Engage Morgan Hill press release. “Additionally, Engage Morgan Hill will provide a deeper understanding of the city budget, finances, revenue sources and expenses.”
Community Engagement Director Maureen Tobin told the Times that some of the group members were selected while others volunteered. The program is intended to last one year.
The group already heard a presentation on the midseason budget review that happened in May.
“In order to meet the challenges ahead, city staff has formed a community advisory group to come together, share ideas, educate themselves and the community, and make informed decisions about how to move forward for a sustainable future,” reads the city’s website. “The Morgan Hill Engage Community Advisory Community will have a key role in making recommendations for the City Council to consider for the upcoming 2020-21/2021-22 two-year budget preparation.”
Tobin said the group is working on several creative ways to reach out to the residents of Morgan Hill. She said some of their ideas include a podcast, listening hours and neighborhood coffee events.
“Probably most important though is the conversations that each member has with their circle of friends and neighbors, supplemented by what the City is sharing,” said Tobin.
The next meeting of the Engage Morgan Hill group is Oct. 26, 9-11am at the city council chambers at 17555 Peak Ave. Tobin said the meeting is between members of the advisory group, but anyone is welcome to sit in.