Cape Elizabeth residents invited to brainstorm on town goals

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CAPE ELIZABETH — The Town Council on Sept. 17 will hold a citizens’ round table to gain feedback on council and community goals.

The discussion will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Cape Elizabeth Middle School cafetorium.

Councilor Molly MacAuslan, chairwoman of the council’s appointments committee, said last year’s goal for the council was to “encourage more citizen participation” and have more residents to come forward with ideas and suggestions. On Aug. 10 she said the idea for the round table came about after hearing from residents who wanted to play a more active role in helping councilors set their annual goals.

“We’ve heard from people … that the council needed to provide some kind of a forum, or a better way or a better process of seeking input on the goals for the council work, and a better process for disseminating the information about those goals,” MacAuslan said.

Town councilors started discussing goals for the year last November and December, before finalizing them in January.

“We have the responsibility of setting goals, but also of listening to residents’ concerns,” MacAuslan said. “We’re seven people out of 9,000.”

MacAuslan said residents will be split into groups of six to 10 people. Each group will brainstorm and discuss goals they want the council to work on, and at the end the groups will share their goals.

“My goal is to have a number of people who show up and give us some specific goals to address, as well as some broader ones,” MacAuslan said. “We want some good direction on broader concepts.”

MacAuslan said an example of a specific goal may be to work on getting better cell phone coverage throughout town, while a broader goal may be to have more infrastructure.

Councilors will be present, but won’t be directly involved in group discussions.

“We don’t want to get in the way,” MacAuslan said. “We want citizens to brainstorm and come up with their own ideas.”

Town Manager Mike McGovern said the town has hosted round-table discussions in the past, but it’s been several years since the last one. MacAuslan said she hopes this can become an annual event.

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.