State of the City Address should be annual event

Those who attended Thursday night’s first State of the City Address – or watched it streaming live – were treated to a frank briefing on the city’s recent history, how it impacts where the city is today, and an outline of where the city is going. It also outlined priorities that reflected not just Mayor Chuck Barney’s agenda – Mr. Barney is not running for re-election this year – but also likely priorities for the next city council.

They would have found a gracious and earnest Mr. Barney setting a heading for the city, and it is one that residents should find encouraging: addressing the flood control project in its whole, addressing the opioid epidemic, finishing the Northwest Area Water Project, investing in agriculture and the downtown and to the pursuit of fiscal responsibility, transparency and economic diversity.

It was a good evening that reflected well on the City of Minot. There should be other, similar occasions in the future. The State of the City Address should become an annual event.

One prominent figure in city government told Minot Daily News that one of the shortcomings of previous administrations was a failure to effectively communicate not just what the city is doing, but also why. Yes, the city provides information on its website and has a good relationship with local media outlets, but some in the community continue to argue that there is a lack of communication.

An annual address, combined with the city’s improved media savvy and website would all but make moot arguments that the city doesn’t communicate with stakeholders.

Additionally, the more the public can spend time personally with city leaders, the better, and addresses like these are going to draw more people than council meetings or workshops – or a different mix of people at least. The public will partner better with leaders with whom they are familiar.

Mr. Barney set a high bar for future mayors in similar positions. That’s a good thing. It falls on his successors to maintain that level of frank communication.