A number of citizens have spoken recently at meetings of either the Trustees or the Planning Commission to comment that they have not felt adequately informed about public hearings, informational meetings, etc. by the Town of Palisade when major issues are to be discussed. In response, some clarification on Town of Palisade policies regarding dissemination of information might be helpful.

Informing oneself about local issues is actually every individual’s civic responsibility. While local taxes paid by residents do support the operation of Town Hall, staff’s responsibility for disseminating information only goes so far. They are not expected or required to contact each individual citizen about topics to be discussed at public meetings. Public notices are posted at Town Hall as well as on any property to be discussed at any public hearing.

Lindsey Chitwood, Town Clerk for the Town of Palisade, has offered copies of the meeting packets for any upcoming public meeting to any interested citizen. Citizens can sign up to have the information packets emailed to them, or can pick up a printed copy at Town Hall. Please call ahead with requests for printed packets to allow for production time by staff. An individual meeting packet may be requested or you can sign up to automatically receive all packets and notices sent out by the Town Clerk.

The Palisade Tribune used to publish the dates and times of all public meetings at least a week ahead, and with the closure of the Tribune a few years ago, published information has been less available. It is not UNavailable, however. Meeting times have always been posted as well as available by phone at Town Hall and on the town’s website, www.townofpalisade.org. PeachTownNews.com will also try to publish meeting times and locations for any public meeting of Town officials or volunteer boards. Both the Town of Palisade and the Palisade Chamber of Commerce also post information on their Facebook pages.

The Board of Trustees as well as members of the Planning Commission do all of their business in public at the regularly scheduled meetings (see below). There are no get-togethers in between the public meetings, as a matter of fact, no more than two Trustees or Commissioners are allowed to meet with each other at any time without it being posted as a public meeting. Occasionally work sessions are scheduled in addition to the regularly scheduled meetings, and they are also posted and can be attended by anyone. Public feedback is not usually taken at work sessions, but citizens can provide oversight if they are interested.

Meetings of the Palisade Board of Trustees are held on the second and fourth Tuesday evening of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Civic Center at 341 West Seventh Street in Palisade unless otherwise specified. Planning Commission meetings, held in the same room, same location and time, are currently scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month with the possibility of a work session or a public meeting on the third Tuesday when necessary. Town staff has recently moved the Planning Commission meetings from first Monday to the first and third Tuesday of the month, which make Tuesdays “meeting night”, a little easier to remember and plan around. Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every other month at noon in the same public meeting room. PeachTownNews.com will also publish reports of each of the meetings as they occur to the best of our ability. Meetings are open to the public and citizens are encouraged to attend. This is your best opportunity to hear and be heard.

In the interest of transparency, Betsy McLaughlin is also a member of the Palisade Planning Commission.