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City needs better outreach

Editor, Ceres Courier,

On Sept. 23 and Sept. 27, the city published two surveys on its website under the “latest news and events” section, asking for citizen input to help plan for the design of phase II at Ochoa Park and improve bike and walking access to Downtown, Smyrna Park, and River Bluff.  The city also held public meetings at Ochoa Park on Oct. 8 and Oct. 12.  Moreover, on Oct. 4, the Ceres Courier published an article with the same information.

On paper, it seems the city does more than enough to gather sufficient input to justify decision making. However, on Oct. 10 during the City Council meeting, the city engineer reported that 115 people had participated. There are more than 115 households within the Eastgate community. If we attribute two people per household, then the survey failed to reach 50 percent of the “targeted community.” Citywide, the participants account for only 0.23 percent of the population.

With such low turnouts maybe it is not citizens who are the problem but rather the outreach used to gather input.  In this Amazon economy where people want everything delivered to — and from — their fingertips, the city should invest in a mass-texting service that reaches everyone with Ceres listed on their driver’s license or identification card.  There should be an option to opt into the service, as well as opt out.

Alvaro Franco,