New Mayor Steve Myers said elected officials alone cannot provide the level of government that citizens want and deserve. He said citizen participation is vital to good government.
Acting within minutes after he was installed as mayor, Myers said one of his first acts will be to bring the city’s boards, commissions and committees to a full slate of members.
He is appealing to citizens to come forward to serve on the groups, which he said will make Pacific a better place to live.
Eight citizen committees, with members appointed by the mayor, provide recommendations to aldermen on city parks, tourism taxes, industrial development, building restrictions, land use, historical materials and emergency services.
The new mayor said he had been disappointed in previous years that the voices of the committees were not heard during the board meetings. He said he would ask all the committees to report their activities and needs to the board monthly.
“Elected officials have to know what the community wants in all these things,” Myers said. “The committee members are part of the community. They can keep us informed.”
A nine-member planning and zoning commission oversees land use and zoning regulations.
This commission reviews all applications for zone changes, new development, new construction and holds public hearings where required by law. The board meets twice monthly, when applications are pending and elects it’s chair from its members.
A five-member board of adjustment hears appeals against planning and zoning regulations or recommendations.
This board meets when appeals are filed and has quasi legal authority. Its rulings can only be appealed in civil court. The board elects its chair from its members.
A nine-member park board crafts the rules for use of the five city parks, including hours they are open to the public, rental fees for pavilions and playing fields, needed improvements and maintenance, and submits an annual parks budget to the board of aldermen.
The park board meets once a month and elects a president from its board.
A five-member tourism commission determines how the tourism taxes collected by the city’s two motels will be spent to attract tourists, in accordance with state statutes.
The tourism commission fields requests from civic groups that host tourist events and identifies projects to attract visitors, such as the electronic message board at city that is visible from Interstate 44, and submits an annual tourism budget to the board of aldermen.
The commission meets once a month at city hall and elects a chair from its board.
A nine-member cemetery committee oversees maintenance of the two city cemeteries and determines hours they are open to the public.
This committee raised $10,000 from relatives of deceased that was used to reset toppled stones, create monument signs and build gazebos for the public to rest when visiting the cemeteries.
The cemetery committee meets as needed, normally at city hall, and elects its chair from its members.
A five-member Industrial Development Authority strives to attract new industry to the city and assist industrial firms in the city.
This committee has the authority to issue low interest industrial development bonds to improve the local economy. The IDA issues municipal bonds to repay the loans, which are secured by the projects so there is no financial risk for the city. The committee meets periodically and elects its chair from its members.
A nine-member History Museum and Genealogy Committee oversees the city’s history collections. This board maintains the memorabilia collected by the city museum and the family history archive collected by the former genealogy society.
The board meets once a month, usually at the Tri-County Senior Center and elects its president from its board.
A seven-member emergency operations committee was established following the 2008 flood. The committee was charged with reviewing city actions during the flood.
The committee also developed an Emergency Operations manual, which was needed for the city to qualify for reimbursement for losses suffered in a catastrophe such as a flood.
Although this committee has not been active recently, the mayor said he intends to reactivate the committee to assist the board of aldermen in emergency matters.
Myers said he sees it as a crucial part of government and will appoint new members and call for monthly meetings.
He also plans to establish a beautification committee, copied after the former Garden Club, that tended public green space and planted shrubs and flowers throughout the city for years.
The board of aldermen has final authority over the actions and recommendations of all committees, with the exception of the Board of Adjustment.
In addition to filling the slate of members, Myers said he would ask all committees to be a more active part of government by attending board of aldermen meetings.
“We need to see them and they need to see government in progress,” he said.
Myers said he would like to see concerned citizens review the work of each of the committees, select the one that interests them, and apply to serve.
“Anyone willing to serve on any committee is urged to email me at email@example.com.