Last week’s town hall meeting may have been a breakthrough for the City of Paintsville.

It was refreshing to see the idea of an open, public meeting with nearly every city agency present to update the public on their purposes and goals. It was refreshing to see the meeting go from a concept discussed a month ago to fruition so quickly. It was refreshing to see dozens of people in the audience, and the interest sufficient for there to be another such meeting later this year. 

Much more importantly, however, the town hall’s significance goes deeper than that. There was talk of lifting Johnson County up to be its best. There was talk of interdepartmental cooperation. Mayor Bill Mike Runyon made it unequivocally clear that for the city to move forward, we will have to care less about who gets the credit for it and care more about actually getting things done. 

Government functions best when it is transparent in its actions and actively communicates with the governed to listen to feedback. While the floor is always opened to the public for every meeting of the Paintsville City Council, creating an entirely new forum specifically with these important goals in mind is a big step forward.

Now, it’s time for the rest of us to do our part.

Is life in Paintsville totally perfect? No one has any grievances? That must be the case, because at a venue specifically created and advertised as an opportunity for citizens to address the entire city, and for the entire discussion to be aired in public, the line for the microphone was short and no one raised any complaints.

As Runyon said, these “town hall” meetings will only work if the hall — in this case, the Historic SIPP Theatre — is packed to the brim by the town. 

The crowd at the next one should be standing room only. If it isn’t, we’re only failing ourselves.

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