Opinion: Asermily thankful for voter support

Thank you to voters for electing me to serve on the Middlebury selectboard. I seek to collaborate with and listen to all residents, fellow selectboard members, town officials and stakeholders to reach solutions that work for the good of the town and its taxpayers. I will support an open participatory process that allows you to be informed and to share your ideas or questions. This is my top priority. I look forward to listening to you in as many ways as possible.
Clearly, we need deliberative ways of discussing critical decisions with voters. Moving forward from the closely watched town office and gym proposal, we’ve learned much about how to do this as new matters come before us. We can examine if we need to go beyond traditional selectboard meetings and even adequately warned public hearings to allow for sufficient discussion when we are faced with controversial issues.
We’ve recognized that many who wish to or need to participate can’t get to scheduled meetings or don’t want to speak publicly and that concerted outreach may be required to involve more people. We know some find their voice speaking one-on-one to officials, in smaller group settings, or by responding to surveys. Others find their voice through written online modes such as Middlebury Front Porch Forum. I support a blend of communication modes that involves the largest possible number of people. Several of these are already in place and under review.
Please share your ideas on how we can promote and expand the channels of communication in our town. Our town manager, Kathleen Ramsay, has established a town email list as an excellent way of informing us about upcoming meetings, events and issues with easy links to town websites. Anyone can request to be on this list, not just Middlebury residents or voters. Those affected by the upcoming railroad underpass project at Merchants Row this summer would find this list helpful for updates on work schedules. You can be added to this list by contacting assistant town manager Chris English [email protected].
For those lacking computer access, information is available by calling the town offices at 388-8100 or by visiting Ilsley Public Library where you can access information by watching Middlebury Community Television broadcasts of town meetings (available online at www.middleburycommunitytv.org), by reading reports and town warnings in local newspapers, and by reviewing town meeting documents posted at www.townofmiddlebury.org.
The opportunity to serve on the selectboard is a privilege that I will honor and respect. I look to the present and future as a moment to improve dialogue, welcome more citizens to the discussion and to build on the great community we currently enjoy. I invite you to contact me at 388-9478 or [email protected]. You can find me at Middlebury Bagel most Friday mornings from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and at other venues I hope to implement with others on looking forward.
Laura Asermily

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