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Carl Brewer and Tim Norton: Help shape future of Wichita, county

  • Published Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, at 12 a.m.

The Wichita/Sedgwick County community is at a crossroads. With an uncertain local, national and world economy and diminishing financial resources, it is important that residents work together to preserve our quality of life in an increasingly competitive environment.

Because we believe residents must be involved in critical decisions, we are launching a public engagement process called the “Community Investments Plan … a Framework for the Future.” This plan will help shape future government spending and public investment decisions for the city of Wichita and Sedgwick County governments.

Wichita State University is assisting the city and county by guiding the citizen engagement process. There will be multiple phases to this unprecedented public engagement process that will begin in mid-October and last through early 2013.

The first phase involves about 500 residents in Sedgwick County who were randomly selected to participate in four special study group meetings scheduled during October. They will share their views and ideas to help shape future decisions regarding critical public investments such as economic development, public transportation and basic infrastructure, such as streets, drainage, and water and sewer service. We also need feedback about state and federal cutbacks to traditional and popular programs supporting neighborhood development, housing, homeless residents and other social services.

The next phase of the public engagement process will allow for broader public input. We need to hear from a diverse group of residents who care about the well-being of our community. We want input from people who have been engaged on civic matters and those who rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to share their thoughts about public services, issues and initiatives.

We want to hear from as many voices as possible. We want to hear your concerns and hopes about the many important matters affecting our community’s future. Your input is critical to defining the role of government as we approach these important community decisions.

We hope that you will help us set priorities and develop a policy framework for future public investments that will shape our community for decades to come. We know that you’re busy, but your input is valuable and necessary.

Carl Brewer is mayor of Wichita. Tim Norton is chairman of the Sedgwick County Commission.

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