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A promise delivered

The Forest Grove town meeting was a model that could - and should - be copied by other local governments.

A few weeks back on this page, in a guest column, Kristy Kottkey encouraged readers to attend the upcoming Annual Town Meeting in Forest Grove, promising it would be both interesting and enlightening.

On Saturday morning, she and the other citizen organizers made good on that promise, treating more than 100 attendees to a fast-paced, but thorough, tour of the city's finances. Those who attended were attentive as Fire Chief Michael Kinkaid and Police Chief Kerry Aleshire injected a bit of humor into the serious subject of public safety, outlining how their departments are staffed.

They remained engaged as assistant finance director Susan Cole used Mayor Pete Truax's property tax bill to show where the city gets its money and what it spends it on.

By the time they broke into small group discussions, they felt not only informed, but empowered to talk about their tax burden and what they're willing to pay to maintain city services.

In our view, it was the most successful town meeting in recent history. In fact, it was so informative and enjoyable that we wish more people could have seen the presentation.

Luckily they can. The proceedings were taped by Tualatin Valley Community TV and will be rebroadcast several times this month, including 7:30 p.m. this Thursday and 8:30 a.m. Friday on Channel 30. Check out www.tvctv.org for details.

It's a model that could - and should - be copied by other local governments, particularly the City of Cornelius and the Forest Grove School District, which in recent years have been dogged by complaints about their budget process. Because as people learned Saturday, budgets don't have to be boring.