Falling approval ratings, scandals, whistle blowing, and spying seem to be all we associate with the word government lately.
Washington is broken. We seem to fixate on that fact and forget about the local government who is screaming for input and ideas. Why do we neglect local government?
Well for one, it’s rather tedious to attend a town hall meeting and other outdated input gathering forums. In our go-go-go (that’s right three “go’s”) world, who has time to attend a six-week planning and visioning session or give four hours of your night to a town hall meeting? Local government is not gathering the much needed input from those who will inherit the community. How do we change local government engagement? Tech it up!
The City of Neligh has developed an online engagement platform called Envision Neligh which allows easy access to local government through a partnership with an Omaha-based company, MindMixer. Envision Neligh works similar to the social media we are already conditioned to, using a post, comment, and rating system to engage citizens on predetermined questions posed by local government officials. This online platform engages citizens on their own time, whether it be a mother who just got a babe to sleep at 3 a.m. or someone bored at work. Envision Neligh allows ideas to resonate. It never fails, you leave a meeting and immediately think of a great idea or concept, now you can instantly post them on Envision Neligh. Ideas remain posted for days to weeks giving citizens plenty of time to share and comment on ideas. Envision Neligh also attracts and engages the young adults Neligh desperately needs to survive and grow.
The City of Neligh is the smallest community to ever work with Mind Mixer. It is undergoing an all-encompassing planning effort to set the direction of the town for the next ten years. Community input is paramount to this process and Envision Neligh will allow local leaders access to great ideas. The process will run for a year and shape the future of Neligh.
City officials and planning consultants will post questions on the site. Citizens can share ideas and discus topics, while getting feedback and response from city officials. Go to EnvisionNeligh.MindMixer.com to participate (no www.) or you can Google Envision Neligh.
Are you worried great-great-grandma won’t get a voice because she doesn’t know how to use the confounded internets? Analog forms of planning will still be used, including in person Town Hall Meetings, Steering Committee Meetings, and mail-in surveys.
If you have questions or need help signing up for the site, don’t hesitate to contact Greg at greg@Neligh.org, 402-887-4447 or check out Neligh’s site for more information and a video on how to use Envision Neligh.
By Greg Ptacek
Director of Neligh Economic Development Office
314 M Street
Neligh, NE 68756