While attending the Nevada League of Cities conference in Winnemucca recently, representatives of the city of Fernley brought more than useful information about how to improve government ... they brought home an award.
The city of Fernley, represented by Mayor Todd Cutler, City Manager Gary Bacock, City Attorney Jeff McGowan, City Treasurer Bonnie Duke and City Clerk Pat Norman walked away with the award given to small cities for being innovative in their approach to governing.
"The city of Fernley presented methods and means to get our community involved," said Cutler. "We have done a lot of things to reach out to our citizens. We want to break down barriers so people feel comfortable being involved with our city."
The award is meant to honor municipal programs that provide an innovative solution to standard municipal problems that other cities can duplicate. Officially called "The 2007 Innovation in Governance Award," it will be on display at City Hall.
A presentation relating numerous methods the city uses to carry on dialogue with its citizens and to inform them of issues in Fernley called Citizen Engagement Programs garnered the award. It contained basic facts about Fernley, a profile of its city government and facts about the area, as well as a list of the means the city puts forth in an effort to keep its citizenry involved.
"One program I like to highlight is the Coffee with the Mayor," said Cutler. "We meet once a month, giving people an opportunity to discuss things in a less formal and less intimidating atmosphere than council meetings. From this we are developing a Citizens Advisory Team (CAT) where people from all walks of life that have attended the function will be asked to be on the committee," Cutler said.
"We want to break down barriers to people and have them feel comfortable discussing issues. We want them to be involved with our city."
Starting in January, CAT will meet the fourth Wednesday of every month.
The next "Coffee with the Mayor" will be hosted by the new Lowe's Home Improvement Center on Dec. 8.
"We have an ever-changing community, and we have developed several methods of keeping people informed," Cutler said.
The city of Fernley Web site, (www.cityoffernley.org), the City In Brief newsletter (which is included in every citizen's water bill each month), the Fernley Youth City Council and various community functions that are held with no admission fee provide an opportunity for people to have interact with city officials.
"We are working to keep young people and adults involved," Cutler said.