Salisbury City Council and staff developed a series of community meetings in an effort to engage with residents. Chit, Chat & Chew town halls grew out of a request from Council members and residents who desired increased engagement beyond the city council meeting public comment period.
To allow residents to have more intimate, targeted discussions with City Council members, a map of nine areas was created, sectioning neighborhoods based upon natural barriers, roadways, population distribution and median income. In addition, some neighborhoods have different needs and concerns than others, such as code enforcement, leaf collection and road condition concerns. Town halls are held in each of the nine areas every other month, although residents throughout the city are welcome at any Chit, Chat & Chew, and all topics are welcome.
“Recognizing that each neighborhood in our city has its own set of challenges and triumphs,” said Anne Little, Salisbury human relations manager, “Chit, Chat & Chew is an opportunity to have some of those challenges addressed or to tout their community accomplishments, and perhaps provide support to others in the room. This event is not only an opportunity for Salisburians to interact with their elected officials, but also with their neighbors in an informal setting.”
In preparation for the discussions, city staff focused on specific neighborhoods during its weekly Community Engagement Friday walks, gathering community-specific concerns of residents. The town hall begins after a light dinner is served.