Ready to make the commitment?

Our poll question this week asks whether readers have ever considered running for a public office. While most folks haven’t considered seeking some of the high profile offices like Congress or governor, a seat on a local board or commission can be rewarding and an excellent way to give back to your community.

In Webster City, three seats are open on the City Council. I understand that two of the incumbents have chosen not to run again. I commend those folks for the time and work they have put in on the council. Our community has faced some tough times in recent years, and I don’t envy the council members for decisions they’ve had to make. In addition to being rewarding, those jobs can also be thankless. Not everyone will agree with your decisions. Not everyone will support the measures put forth. That’s OK. That’s what it means to be part of a civilized society. Not everyone needs to agree, but whatever the decision, it needs to be in the best interest of the constituents.

I’ve heard some people around town talk about the current council members simply “rubberstamp” what the city administration wants done. If you’ve attended the council meetings on any kind of a regular basis, you’ll realize that those five council members have no trouble at all speaking their minds, debating the merits of a project or asking how an ordinance will benefit or impact the citizens of this community.

A council member’s job is not just a twice-a-month meeting. They take calls from local residents, hear concerns about electric rates or property taxes or nuisance properties. They wade through volumes of documentation each month, review expenses and departmental reports. They are responsible for approving and tracking the city’s budget and understanding how the city spends its money. Ultimately, it is a commitment that many would chose not to make.

But for those who wish to accept the challenge and take on that commitment, now may be a good time to step forward. Council seats all across the county will be filled this November. Check with the county auditor’s office or the city clerk in your respective city to obtain the necessary nomination papers for the November election.

Sometimes, it’s easier to complain about how someone else is handling a job than to step up and do that job themselves. But every citizen needs to give back to the community in some way. If it’s not through serving on a board, council or commission, then perhaps it’s through community service and volunteering. Try being a reading buddy at one of the schools, deliver Meals on Wheels, help beautify the community by taking part in PRIDE activities or help package meals for Kids Against Hunger.

By volunteering, giving back, paying it forward — whatever you wish to call it — people can make the community a better place. It’s easy complain about all the problems in Webster City, but there are people actively working to make things better. Why not join those efforts? Try being part of that solution. Give some of your time and talents to make this community an even better place to live and work.