Citizen engagement is a two-way street. The city does its best to provide opportunities for involvement, but residents have to do their part to engage in the conversation.
This fall presents a few noteworthy ways to share your opinions with the city and ensure that UA continues to grow in a way that both pushes for future growth and maintains the traditions that make us unique.
Citizen Financial Review Team: As we deal with the loss of the estate tax and reductions in the Local Government Fund, we are taking a long, hard look at how best to maximize the public funds entrusted to us. We are calling upon members of the community with the appropriate expertise to delve into our financial situation to help us explore and identify the best options for addressing our future challenges.
A Citizen Financial Review Team of approximately 12-15 individuals is currently being formed, with applications due Friday, Nov. 8.
This group will likely convene half a dozen times over approximately three months. Initially, participants will undertake a crash course in the city's financial history, its obligations and projections for the future. Once up to speed on the many moving parts, the team will be asked to question our usual assumptions, share their knowledge of best practices used by other entities (public and private) and to develop a set of recommendations that will be brought back to city council once their work is complete.
Along the way, there will opportunities for other community members to attend meetings and provide additional input.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in and qualified for, you can access the application online at uaoh.net under the "Headlines" section, or call the city clerk's office at 614-583-5030 for a paper application.
Connectivity Plan Survey: A team of OSU graduate students invites residents to take the UA Connectivity Plan survey, regarding the expansion of sidewalks.
The student group is undertaking this project as a part of graduate coursework in city and regional planning. Residents are able to join this general discussion about sidewalks in UA and offer ideas on how to achieve an expanded sidewalk network.
You can access this survey until Friday, Nov. 8, at surveymonkey.com/s/uaconnectivity.
2013 Community Survey: Though the city recently completed its formal 2013 Community Survey, we've decided to open a version of it up to the rest of the community in order to reach as many residents as possible.
From Monday, Nov. 4, through Friday, Nov. 15, log on to uaoh.net and click on the "2013 Community Survey" link under the Headlines section. The survey should only take about 15 minutes to complete -- please note that any data received through this phase will be used as supplemental feedback since it is not part of the statistically significant collection phase of the process.
The final survey report is anticipated at the end of the month, with a presentation to city council scheduled for the Monday, Dec. 2, conference session.
Voting: Lastly, I ask that you head out to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5. With five candidates running for four seats on city council, three candidates vying for two spots on the school board, along with the schools' levy request, Upper Arlington voters have a full plate.
If you want a say in how your community is run, you have to vote.
Read up on the candidates and the issues at hand before you make a decision on the candidates who will be guiding Upper Arlington and its future.
Theodore J. Staton is Upper Arlington's city manager.