City plans 'call-in' town hall meeting
The city of Plano is giving residents a new way to interact with its first-ever 'call-in' town hall meeting Nov. 13.
The meeting, which will focus on police, street improvement and economic development initiatives, will feature two-minute presentations from Police Chief Greg Rushin, Public Works Director Gerald Cosgrove and Plano Economic Development Director Sally Bane.
Not only will residents attending the meeting be able to ask the officials questions, but residents watching the meeting on the city's cable TV channel or listening in via telephone can call in to ask live questions.
The city is conducting the meeting in such a way to make community engagement more convenient for some of the city's residents, said Mark Israelson, director of policy and government relations for the city.
"Attending meetings at times, with people's hectic schedules and knowing that people have multiple demands for their time, [isn't convenient]," he said. "We're hoping that being able to connect over the phone will be something that's convenient and will allow them to participate."
At the meeting, Rushin will go over several new ways in which the public can connect with the police department, including its new text-based tip line, TIP411, and Facebook page, said Officer David Tilley, Plano PD spokesman. Tilley added the department has received tips ranging from reports of suspicious activity to repeated parking and traffic violations during the program's near-two months of existence.
"It's been a good program," he said. "One of our biggest concerns on it all along ... is that someone's going to use it as opposed to 911. Fortunately, so far, we have not had any incidents come thru our tip411 program that someone was in need of emergency assistance.
Cosgrove said will go over current public works projects, including the ongoing work on K Avenue, Park Boulevard and Plano Parkway. He also said he will likely mention some upcoming roadwork projects, including upgrades to Spring Creek Parkway at Custer Road and Independence Parkway and work on Independence at 15th Street, Park, and Parker Road.
Bane said she will spend her two minutes discussing recent economic development projects, including an update on the results of the city's incentive fund, which uses 2 cents of the city's property tax rate to provide incentives for companies looking to relocate to North Texas.
"I think that Plano has some very impressive projects that are occurring in our community," she said, "and we want to make sure that our citizens know that we are very active in continuing to help our existing business community expand, in helping to keep the businesses we have, and importantly, attracting new corporations to the community."
The city was inspired to launch a town hall meeting using the call-in format after seeing the success the city of Frisco experienced with similar call-in meetings, Israelson said.
"They've done a program similar to this that they've had great success with," he said, "and we went and reviewed their program as it was going on and thought that there was significant value it could contribute to our outreach efforts."
The meeting will be held at Plano City Hall, 1520 K Ave., from 7 to 8 p.m. The number that will be used to listen in and ask live questions is 1-888-409-5380.
"Our programs and services are designed to meet the needs of our citizens," Israelson said. "Making sure that we are connecting with them and continuing to reach out and let them have access to their government ... that's our fundamental goal."
To stream video of the meeting online, visit www.plano.gov/departments/planotelevisionnetwork/Pages/default.aspx.
Copyright © 2013 - Star Local News