Easily stay abreast of what you care about most in Jamestown.
Email Alerts enables you to easily stay informed about Jamestown area matters. See the About section below for more information. To easily stay informed about national legislation and to have a voice with your national representatives, visit IssueVoter.org which helped inspire Email Alerts.
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About Email Alerts (Click a title to read/close.)
When you subscribe by clicking the Get Email Alerts button above, you’ll first select the specific topics of interest to you. Then you’ll receive brief and informative emails in your Inbox about upcoming events or decisions ONLY when it relates to one of your topics. You’ll only receive a few emails at any one time.
Email Alerts is designed to help with some existing residents’ engagement and government transparency opportunities. It’s inspired by two factors: one national (IssueVoter.org) and one local (Jamestown’s Comprehensive Plan concerning residents’ involvement and having a greater voice in their town’s governance, starting with staying informed). To find out more see below for “What is the origin, role and benefits of Email Alerts?”
For your convenience, to ensure that you know what’s going on, and to give you an opportunity to have a say in the issues that matter to you. You can easily email your representatives (using the email links in the sidebar) and/or know when you should attend a town board meeting to make your voice heard.
Because we’re starting with a few volunteer “correspondents,” the alerts currently being posted fall into these categories:
- Upcoming Jamestown board meeting agenda items related to your interests (so you can know if your attendance at the board meeting is warranted).
- Decisions made by the board related to your interests (as reported by our “correspondents” attending town board meetings).
- Other newsworthy items related to your interests that show up on our radar, e.g., county issues that affect the local community.
NOT COVERED at this time are community updates, special presentations, and “Discussion” agenda items (we encourage people to attend meetings to participate in those), and town business that’s relatively mundane but important to running the town (for example, votes on contracts or reauthorizing collection of property taxes).
Alert coverage depends on the availability of volunteer correspondents. As the number of Email Alerts subscribers and volunteer correspondents increases, we’ll consider extending to other opportunities. Drop us a line if you’d like to find out more about being a volunteer correspondent.
Email Alerts is inspired by two factors, one national and one local. . .
First, there’s a new national website called IssueVoter.org that enables people to selectively opt in to following the U.S. Congress on issues of interest by receiving email alerts on upcoming legislation and outcomes.
The second factor is the (draft) of Jamestown’s updated Comprehensive Plan that acknowledges the need to expand opportunities to:
“Create a more open, transparent, participatory and inclusive local government.”
” . . . seek the involvement of diverse groups of residents on community issues and in Town-sponsored activities,” and
” . . . expand opportunities for all residents to have a voice in the community, and monitor and acknowledge the desires, needs, and suggestions of all community members.”
We believe that residents will be supported in having a voice by being well informed in the first place about what’s going on. That’s where Email Alerts comes in.
The Comprehensive Plan also acknowledges the limited town resources and encourages citizen volunteers to help get things done. In fact, some things like Email Alerts may only get done because of volunteers.
With these inspirations, the Jamestown Speaks team realized that a scaled-down town version of IssueVoter.org could be implemented on the Jamestown Speaks website in what we have called the “Email Alerts” feature. In doing so, we hope to contribute to helping to satisfy some of the residents’ engagement and government transparency opportunities outlined in the Comprehensive Plan.
The question also comes up: The town publishes Agendas and meeting minutes. What benefit does Email Alerts provide? First, we want to be clear, the purpose of Email Alerts is NOT to replace or supplant what the town does. The town publications are the official record.
Email Alerts is only intended to provide some newspaper-like reporting functions—if Jamestown had a newspaper.
The benefits are:
- Focus on what matters to you: Town government does a lot, but some residents may only be interested in their own hot-button issues. By signing up for alerts on specific topics, it’s much easier for you to stay abreast of what you care about vs. waiting for and culling through meeting minutes to discover the outcomes that are of interest to you.
- Easily know what’s being addressed at upcoming board meetings on topics that are important to you. For better or worse, most residents do not attend town board meetings and, we suspect, don’t watch for the board meeting agendas that are published shortly before board meetings (at least 24 hours in advance by law). By receiving Email Alerts on upcoming agenda items that come right to your Inbox, you’ll know what’s upcoming and can decide on short notice whether it’s important enough for you to attend and have a voice. We hope this will actually increase attendance at board meetings.
- Easily keep informed about legislative outcomes on topics that are important to you. We suspect most residents are not constantly visiting the town website to look for newly-published meeting minutes. By receiving alerts on legislative outcomes, you’ll know what’s been decided on many town board agenda items.
- Receive timely outcome alerts. Because of the thorough process that the board goes through to approve minutes before they are published, it can be a month or more before outcomes are made available on the town website. Although we’re not yet in a position to commit to a specific timeliness, we anticipate that we can report on outcomes within days of a board meeting, resulting in faster awareness.
- Easily keep track of bottomline outcomes. Often people just want to know the bottomline: What was decided on Issue X? Email Alerts will report a brief outcome summary so you know the decision and how the board voted. The details about how the issue came about and the discussion leading up to it is not in our purview. We’ll stick to brief summary statements of the outcomes and who voted and how. If we happen to report something significantly wrong, we’ll correct it as soon as it’s brought to our attention with a follow-up alert. If you do want to know more about an outcome you can easily contact your representatives by email using the links we provide, or you can be on the outlook for the minutes when they are published.
- Easily see all the published alerts at any time. All the Email Alerts that have been published are readily available at any time by going to the Alerts tab of the Jamestown Speaks website. There you’ll find a chronological list of all the published alerts (by title) that’s easy to scan; you can expand a title to read the complete alert, including town board vote outcomes when there was a vote. By clicking the View Outcomes Only button, you can also access a filtered list of just outcomes. The Email Alerts feature was started in the Fall of 2016 so the alerts are all subsequent to that.
- Easily contact your representatives. Do you have something to say to your town representatives before a vote is taken or about an outcome? Do you know who your town representatives are? It’s easy to communicate with them by email by going to the Alerts tab of the Jamestown Speaks website and using the contact links in the sidebar.
Bottomline, our goal is to help support an informed citizenry and promote citizens’ engagement. We think Email Alerts will help in that regard.
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Click a title to read/close an alert.
See alerts-by-topic by clicking a topic in the sidebar.
See “Alert Filters” for alerts by type.