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To w n s h i p P e r s p e c t i v e February 2009 17
H
as your annual town meeting become
nothing more than a routine function you
conduct each April?
Is it so mundane that even you would
not attend if you were not, well, expected to be there
as a township official?
If so, it may be time to rethink what you can do to
give residents a reason to attend, and make the annual
meeting an opportunity to let people know what your
township does, or would like to do.
In New Trier Township, Supervisor Pat Cantor and
staff were meeting in January to make plans to get a
speaker for the annual town meeting to address build-
ing vital communities.
“We try to really have a welcoming spirit at this
and make the annual meeting a fun event,” Cantor
said. “We have a lot of former officials who come, and
we send invitations to our legislators, and if they are
unable to attend, they usually send a representative.
We try to get through the business part of the meeting
without too much boredom, using summaries of our
activities and using PowerPoint presentations.”
New Trier Township (Cook Co.) ordinarily uses
the annual meeting night to honor volunteers or high-
light youth programs, but this year because of the dis-
mal economy, the focus will be on civic engagement,
and looking at the assets of the community rather
than the liabilities.
“We want to look at the positive things and build
up from there,” Cantor said. “We’re looking at ways to
get the community involved and at problem solving.”
This year, the township will award $60,000 in
grants that will be announced at the annual meeting
last year, she said.
Encouraging participation from scout groups and
other organizations, New Trier Township attracts
residents who might not realize what services the
township provides, she added.
“We had people who didn’t know we had a food
pantry, but since August, we’ve had 50 percent more
in food and donations for the pantry that has seen an
increase of 22 percent in clients served since Octo-
ber. This is a fairly wealthy township, but we have
increasing numbers of working poor.”
Coffee, soft drinks and cookies will be served at the
annual town meeting, with an attendance of 100 or
more expected, she said.
“We try to make it a focus night to the community
of what the township does,” said Cantor. “Last year,
we honored our active volunteers, and the year before
we focused on persons with disabilities, and had a
wheelchair basketball match.”
And the township doesn’t stop there.
A collage of photos from annual town meeting
night hangs in the township board room and has
brought a lot of questions from residents, while a
slideshow of last year’s meeting can be seen on the
township’s Web site, www.newtriertownship.com.
They also have plans to produce a DVD highlighting
the programs offered by the township.
In Naperville Township, Clerk Carol Bertulis feels
annual town meeting night is a chance to show town-
ship residents what their money goes to, and the ser-
vices the township offers.
ANNUAL
TOWN MEETING
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN
To the legal voters, residents of the Town of ____________
in the County of __________ and State of Illinois, that the
Annual Town Meeting of said Town will take place on
Tuesday, April __, 20__
being the second Tuesday of said month
at the hour of ___o’clock __M. at
for the transaction of the miscellaneous business of the said town; and after a
Moderator having been elected, will proceed to hear and consider reports of
officers, and decide on such measures as may, in pursuance of law, come
before the meeting; and especially to consider and decide the following
(Place meeting agenda below):
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________
Dated _____________________20__.
ASSOCIATE EDITOR / Erin Valentine
Invigorate your
annual town meeting!
Annual Plan Invigoration Meeting Agenda Example
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