For the second time in a month, Councilman Singer has hosted a gathering of residents with the express purpose of sharing information and observing sentiment. 

Both objectives were met this Saturday morning at the Community Room in the new downtown library…. Attended by  40+ people, an array of topics were brought to the floor and given ample airing to prove useful for all concerned. 

In an opening statement, the councilman sought to direct the conversation towards the betterment of the city.  Topics on economic development and branding were his high priorities, with a recognition that this coming week the entire City Council will convene for the ‘goal setting’ sessions. 

For the first hour items like the Customs Facility at Boca Raton Regional Airport, Office Depot, Brand Development, Education, Marketing and Infrastructure Improvements were the major focus.  Of course, eventually the hot issues of traffic, downtown development, 770 East, and the Wildflower took center stage.

To his credit, the Councilman addressed the topics head on and gave insight into his basic beliefs when weighing factors in front of any vote.   Although there remains considerable disagreement, at least the audience now has additional materials in which to persuade the outcomes of these more controversial matters.

An interesting inquiry made by the Councilman was what the general attitude of the residents was towards city staff.  

For the most part, people working for the city were given high marks in most areas but upper management, the top tier, received significant criticism for responsiveness, respect and honesty. 

The audience does not believe in or trust the City Manager and City Attorney.  That sentiment converts to a general sense of mistrust across the board to city employees who are simply there to do their jobs as best as possible.  Restoring the trust factor is a top down function and really needs to be addressed….These town hall events are a terrific start.

Saturday’s meeting was the third in less than a month. 

Thank you Councilman Singer and Councilman Rodgers for this outreach.

There is no doubt that the citizens want the dialogue and interaction.

Three suggestions: 

1)  Encourage the other councilmembers and the Mayor to host similar functions;

2)  Schedule opportunity for weekday evening or morning time slots so that a greater variety of the community can participate; and,

3)  If possible, locate a meeting venue further west and/or north convenient for other Boca Raton communities and neighborhoods to attend.