As an initiative under the Out and About program, Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson has proposed creating a citizen’s forum. Davidson discussed the details with the Town Council during a Nov. 15 study session.

Out and About is a program aimed at reaching out to citizens to get more input regarding council decisions.

The forum aims to strengthen the ties between the community and the Marana government. The council approved the proposal, thereby replacing the Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

 “The whole effort is to engage citizens in a more dynamic way” said Davidson.

In doing so, the forum hopes to take advantage of a broader range of community topics and perspectives.

 “We used to have several different commissions that focused on a particular element of the town. Each of these boards had between six and 10 members who concentrated on one specific area of interest. The Marana Citizens’ Forum will include 25-35 members who will address big-picture topics that require expertise from many diverse fields,” said town spokesman Rodney Campbell.

Each appointed forum member will be allowed to serve a two-year term. Priority will be given, but not limited to, those members currently on the commission boards.

 Davidson and staff encourage the general public to participate in the forums, and will be advertising through local venues and the Marana website in an effort to receive applications. Appointments will be made primarily from the Council members and department heads.

Once in progress, the forum will take on important community issues as presented by the council. Topics will range between from crime, to education, to zoning laws.

Forum members will choose a topic of highest concern, gather data regarding that topic, create an action plan to resolve the issue, and present the plan to council for approval. Members wishing for reappointment can apply at the end of their term.

The topic will be discussed over a 12-week period.

Furthering the efforts of Marana’s Out and About program, Town Clerk Jocelyn Bronson presented two informational items to the Council.

The Employee and Community Connections programs look to revitalize past programs, which was suspended in 2008 due to a lack of funding. These new programs will focus on implementing aspects of Marana’s Strategic Plan,  which  is a plan that serves to improve the quality of life for Marana and its citizens.

Specifically, the Community Connections program will focus on community planning and building, allowing members to submit recommendations, complaints, or modifications to the level of commercial services they are offered.

Bronson said the Employee Connections program will give voice to town employees regarding best practices and ways to do business; all while helping them “become ambassadors to the community.”

Marana town officials will continue finalizing the plans for the community-involvement initiatives. The programs are expected to be in place by March of next year.

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