Cape councilors make communication a goal

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council met Tuesday to discuss a wide range of goals for the year ahead.

A consistent theme in the workshop discussion was the need for more effective communication, from the councilors to the public, the public to councilors, or members of the public with each other.

Councilor Caitlin Jordan suggested a community mediation program.

“We have a lot of people who can’t get along and they bring their problems to us,” she said.

Jordan said if the town had volunteer mediators who could sit down with quarreling neighbors, many problems could be resolved without having to involve the council. Many councilors agreed this was a good idea, but were unsure how to implement it, given that other residents would have to volunteer their participation.

Councilor Molly MacAuslan said she would like to “encourage more citizen participation” and have more residents to come forward with ideas and suggestions.

Many councilors said it can be difficult to get people to come to Town Council meetings, especially if they fear speaking at the podium and addressing the council. Councilors said they aren’t sure how this issue could be resolved, but that they will increase their efforts to encourage people to engage with the council.

In order for councilors to more effectively communicate with residents, it was suggested that the council implement standards for keeping minutes and taking notes. Some councilors said there have been complaints about incomplete notes or that some notes are not as thorough as others.

These documents, which can be found online after meetings, are helpful for residents who couldn’t attend the meeting. The councilors decided there should be rules for taking notes to make sure residents are getting all of the information they need.

Other goals suggested including looking at dangerous intersections in town, particularly the intersection of Shore Road, Scott Dyer Road and Ocean House Road (Route 77).

Councilors also talked about more comprehensive ordinances governing access at Crescent Beach and Kettle Cove. 

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.