More than 30 residents attended the Katherine Town Council's first 'open forum' community engagement meeting last evening.
The council chose to close the traditional open forum style approach to community questions before council meetings as it emerged from COVID-19 restrictions to adopt a new approach.
They have instead moved in favour of quarterly open forums and community engagement stalls outside Woolworths.
Rather than limiting opportunities for residents to voice their concerns directly with council, Mayor Fay Miller and the Aldermen claim this will diversify the voices they encounter.
Council meetings, they claim, have attracted only a small segment of the town for some time now.
Council is also livestreaming its meetings on its Facebook page as well.
Last night's forum did boast a higher turnout than your average council meeting, as residents asked questions relating to municipal matters such as rate increases and roadworks.
Council explained rates would not rise overall as a total for this year but redistribution based on updated property valuations would still see a rise for some residents.
"The council must still deliver services, and this money is what we will be using to deliver those services in the new year," Deputy Mayor Peter Gazey said.
Questions were also posed about the number of businesses which have closed over recent months and years.
One resident asked if it was known how many local businesses had closed.
Council staff outlined progress on local projects such as the hot springs car park.
Attendees were encouraged to approach council members after the event over food to discuss any queries they held and wished not to raise in the public forum of the meeting.
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