One of the biggest complaints I have about any process is the lack of information or difficulty in obtaining information.
I hate to pick on North Bend again, but it seems necessary. I’m not sure why the information channel is so slow but it needs to be addressed.
Several important issues are on the horizon for North Bend. There is a change to the comprehensive plan that deals with zoning in the Urban Growth Area. There are water rate increases that will eventually affect not only the current city residents, but those in the Urban Growth Area. And there is a sewer utility improvement district being formed to create infrastructure for properties in the North Bend Urban Growth Area. All of these issues combined will, at some point, affect a large part of the 98045 ZIP code. As a resident in the Urban Growth Area, I am not impressed with the dissemination of information.
First and foremost, a message to the city administrator and Comcast. We, in the Urban Growth Area, want the ability to watch council meetings on our television. I hate to say it, but I have watched many government meetings while laying in bed in the evenings. Yes, they tend to quickly put me to sleep, but I still like the information. I have made repeated requests to get the council meetings on a channel for those of us who are in the urban growth boundary and to date, the requests has fallen on deaf ears. Maybe Comcast is making so much money that they don’t need to listen to their customers. Hmmm, wonder if you can get a government channel on satellite?
The city administrator should make thisissue a high priority request. It’s a great way to see what will affect us, in addition to reading stories in the local newspaper.
I also have to add that a recent mailer sent to residents of North Bend and the Urban Growth Area was a poor presentation of a major issue. The maps were unreadable and the language was not clear.
So why pick on the city for these poor attempts at communicating? The most important reason is annexation. At some point in time, the city is going to ask us to annex into the city and become part of North Bend. Based on current communication levels, I really doubt I would vote for annexation. I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Why would it be more beneficial for me to annex into the city then remain in the county? (I can’t believe I just put that on paper given my concerns for county government.)
Some recommendations to consider immediately: Put anything and everything on your Website, but make it easy to navigate. Include maps, graphics, etc. Send out a mailer, drive traffic to the Website. Also, highlight locations, such as the library, where people can access the Website. Take the initiative to inform residents through local communication channels. In other words, bend over backward to make sure reporters from local newspapers have a clear and complete understanding of a specific issue. When was the last time the city called the newspaper first to get coverage of an issue? Granted, we should be on top of things more quickly than that but two-way communication is essential to understanding major issues.
The city is working hard to tackle major issues, now take the time to tell us about them.