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County Launches On-Line Public Comment Forum

on September 27, 2012 - 11:35pm

COUNTY News:

Los Alamos County has launched a new on-line public comment forum called “Open Forum.”

Open Forum will be moderated by Peak Democracy and is another tool as the County continues its efforts to expand ways that citizens can voice their opinions about a variety of topics.

The forum can be accessed on the County’s home page.

County Councilors and County Staff will review comments and incorporate them into the decision-making process.

Furthermore, the County aims to empower citizens by providing them information on each issue to enrich online comment and provide more opportunities for citizen interaction and engagement.

"We have heard feedback from our residents that more and more of them are interested in the convenience of on-line public comment forums as an option to attending public meetings,” County Administrator Harry Burgess said. "Open Forum is being established in response to those suggestions, and has the added benefit over sending the County email comments about a project or issue because you will have the ability to see what others are saying about the topic or issue. That is a new feature we have not previously offered in our public participation process. Making it easier for citizens to participate in the County decision-making process from the privacy and convenience of their own home is important to ensuring that the County’s decisions reflect public opinion."

The first topic posted on Open Forum asks: "What do you think about the proposed renovations at Ashley Pond Park?" The project is currently at the 30 percent Design stage after the Council approved the conceptual design and $2.2 million budget last May.

Residents can read what others are saying about the proposed renovations, and share their own opinion. The new feature can be accessed through the “Open Forum” link on the County’s home page at www.losalamosnm.us – it can be found next to the “Sunshine” icon under Helpful Links.

Other topics and projects will be featured on Open Forum in the coming weeks. The new forum is being considered a pilot project for one year to gauge citizen reaction and use.

Feedback about the forum’s format and ease of its use can be e-mailed to the County’s Public Information Officer at julie.habiger@lacnm.us.

About Peak Democracy

Peak Democracy is a non-partisan company based in California that developed the online platform. Their mission is to broaden civic engagement and build public trust in government. About 50 other cities and counties across the country are using Open City Hall including Aspen Colo., Salt Lake City, Utah, Tempe, Ariz., Delray Beach, Fla., and Santa Cruz, Calif.

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