Living Democracy

Collinsville Council Hears about Summer Initiatives

image of Collinsville Town HallOn Monday, June 2, I attended a Collinsville City Council meeting. I’ve had the chance to sit in on exactly two city council meetings in my life, and neither of them was in my hometown in Tennessee. After attending a meeting in Auburn, I realized how much goes on in a town and how much more happens behind the scenes than what we see.

City council meetings are a great chance to stay up-to-date on a town’s happenings, and they shed light on how the mayor and council members make decisions that affect their citizens.

The council members in Collinsville had a genuine interest in each issue they discussed. They knew each of the folks in attendance, greeting constituents with handshakes and kind smiles, and the meeting felt open yet intimate.

The Collinsville City Council meeting I attended began with an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance. At the meeting, Thomas Williams received the “Distinguished Service Award” for his outstanding performance in promoting the aim and objectives of the Alabama League of Municipalities.

After Mayor Johnny Traffanstedt, an Auburn University graduate, recognized Mr. Williams, he turned to my community partner, Jennifer Wilkins, and asked her to introduce me.

image of two citizens shaking hands in CollinsvilleThis was my cue to inform the Council about our new programs and ask for their help in promoting the library’s youth engagement initiatives. I introduced our five summer programs: the high school reading club, third through sixth grade book club, preschool read-to-me program, Discovering Science Through Art, and computer tutoring.

We went into detail about what each program entails and were proud to announce that we were approved as Scholastic FACE Program partners. This means we can provide books to the kids in the reading programs for free, which encourages the students to bring the books home and reread their favorite stories, fueling a life-long love of reading.

The Council seemed engaged and excited about opportunities to help improve their town. Each member seemed interested in signing up for computer tutoring. They were excited that classes were one-on-one, an hour long, flexible to fit schedules, and free!

After I spoke, Sheila Hurley took the floor to promote the CED (Cherokee, Dekalb, Etowah) Health Program, a non-profit organization that provides services to adults, kids, and geriatrics in areas of physical and mental health.

She explained that the program assists with transportation to rehab, GED classes, nutrition programs, and doctor’s visits for enrollees. Hurley was visiting local officials to ask for contributions to help with transportation services.

image of award plaque that was given to a councilmemberThe organization is working to expand transportation in Dekalb County. In the first quarter of the year, they logged more than20,000 miles in this county alone. Hurley asked a for funding for a van specifically for Dekalb County with an onsite nurse to help transport patients to and from appointments. She said they were also hoping to expand their reach to telemedicine, which allows doctor’s offices in other counties to connect with patients across counties via computers, tablets, and other sources of technology.

It was a fascinating idea, one that would allow doctors, patients, and specialists to communicate together simultaneously without the hassle of spending time and money on travel.

She ended her presentation saying,  “Transportation is our biggest hurdle. We never turn folks away because of cost, and we want to continue our service to reach everyone in need. Someday, it may be one of you, and we want to still be here to help.”

The mayor and other town officials seemed genuinely interested in and grateful to hear from us at the Council meeting. The mayor expressed his appreciation for the programs and initiatives dedicated to community development.

The meeting ended with council members reviewing and agreeing on resolutions.

My visit to the Collinsville Town Hall left me feeling proud of everything Collinsville has to offer citizens and hopeful about what is to come to help them even more.

 

By Shaye McCauley
Last Updated: June 10, 2014