Williamsburg unveils online forum for citizen feedback

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(Courtesy City of Williamsburg.)

Williamsburg residents now have a new method of making a mark on their hometown.

The City of Williamsburg has launched Open Forum, an online program that allows residents to provide their input on the city’s outlook and strategic ambitions.

The forum was launched after last Tuesday’s public workshop about the city’s future goals, according to a press release from the city.

“We want the public to be part of the process, and they’re already online,” said Mark Barham, Information Technology Director for the city.  “This is an incredibly cost-effective way to empower more residents to participate in city decisions from the privacy and convenience of their own home, or anywhere.”

City officials will read citizen’s comments on the forum and incorporate the feedback into policy. By subscribing to Open Forum, users are able to participate in two-way conversations with the city. The city will be sending out surveys and questions, and subscribers can respond with their opinions and suggestions.

Subscribing is as easy as providing an email address and clicking ‘subscribe.’ Non-subscribers will still be able to provide input, but will not receive replies from the city.

The current survey, available for the next four days, asks subscribers to “help shape future goals by telling us what is important to you.” The forum discussion revolves around the city’s priorities for 2017 and 2018.

Open Forum was developed by the company Peak Democracy, whose missions is to build public trust in government and expand civic engagement.  Roughly 100 cities and counties across the U.S. and Canada use the Open Forum platform.