In a move that underscores the importance of publicengagement in local governance, newly-elected Mayor Louis Stark outlined the process of public participation during the Ross Town Council’s annual general meeting on Monday, May 15.

Addressing new council members, Mayor Stark explained that a 15-minute window has been set aside specifically for public members to voice their concerns, pose questions, or bring up matters for council consideration. This segment, according to Stark, does not necessarily warrant a response but provides a platform for open dialogue.

During the meeting, a member of the public expressed gratitude towards the council’s open-door policy but raised concerns about the limitations stated in the meeting agenda, which implied that public participation could only pertain to items on the meeting’s agenda.

In response, Mayor Stark reassured the individual, stating that the ability to raise off-agenda issues lies at the discretion of the chair. He added, “I’m certainly happy if someone has taken the time to come and address the Council, that we should listen.” The Mayor, however, clarified that matters related to the County Council may not fall within the jurisdiction of the town council.