Making Tough Choices: A community conversation about Belmont's future
Making Tough Choices:
A community conversation
about Belmont's future
Sunday, October 24
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Beech Street Center
For many generations, Belmont has been considered one of the most desirable places to live in the Commonwealth, with both its small town charm and its easy access to Boston. The town’s success has been based upon the power of people working together toward the common good. The many elements that contribute to our quality of life are what we might call our “public structures,” from our people, to our services, to our public facilities. We rely on Town Meeting, the Selectmen, the School Committee, the Warrant Committee, and the many other volunteer boards and committees in Belmont to do the necessary and challenging work of keeping our community strong.
At this moment in our town’s history, we are called upon to make some particularly difficult choices. The realities of living in a small town in which 93 percent of our taxable property is residential – coupled with rapid changes in our increasingly global society, as well as the larger economic problems facing all municipalities – have caught up with us. The current budget shortfall and the outcome of the recent override proposal are just a few examples. But we are also experiencing divisions around a host of other civic matters. Our civil discourse is fragmented and seemingly divisive, and many have spoken about a deficit of trust in government and each other.
While many of these problems are elements of larger trends, Belmont has a long history of coming together – in true New England town fashion – to take responsibility for its own solutions. Together, we are the stewards of our town’s resources; together, we make the choices that affect our present and our future. We believe our town possesses a wealth of talented, energetic individuals of goodwill, who, when educated about the details of the challenges and issues, can help identify realistic solutions. Our Selectmen, School Committee and town government are eager to consider responsible recommendations from the public in their efforts to make the tough choices ahead.
The time has come for Belmont citizens to sit down together to chart our future—with both our short- and long-term horizons in mind.
Towards this end, and as part of an ongoing effort called Envision Belmont, the Vision Implementation Committee and the Belmont Selectmen are sponsoring an open meeting on Sunday, October 24, 2010 called Making Tough Choices: A community conversation about Belmont's future. Its goals are simple: engage the public in a constructive, non-partisan, solution-oriented conversation about the challenges facing our town, and inform our town leaders about what is most important to us.
The meeting will take place between 1:00 and 4:00 PM at the Beech Street Center in Belmont and will be open to the public. Selectmen, representatives from town government, organizations and businesses will all be in attendance.
At the meeting, attendees will be invited to organize into small groups around specific challenges facing our town, and encouraged to discuss issues, concerns and possible solutions. Together each group will be asked to assemble a set of recommendations to guide decision-makers in their efforts to address these challenges. A formal facilitation process will be used to ensure focused effort and productive exchanges. At the conclusion of the meeting, recommendations and other notes will be shared with the public on the Vision Committee’s website, to form the basis for future comment and discussion.
We know that true solutions will take time and that consensus will be hard-won. But we believe that by taking this step we can embark on a new phase of constructive civic dialogue in Belmont. In a small town like ours, everyone and everything is interconnected. That’s why we all have a stake in keeping Belmont strong—in honor of the generations that have come before us, and those to whom we will eventually pass the mantle of leadership.
Be a part of determining our future.