On July 30, Las Vegas residents with questions, concerns or comments about local traffic and road construction were given the opportunity to be heard – online. It was the first in what the City plans to be a series of monthly citywide online meetings via its web site. Maria Minich, Public Information Officer, says that the meetings are “designed to allow residents to interact with elected officials, department directors and other city staff in a chat environment. Residents can receive immediate feedback and communicate more effectively with city representatives.”

To participate, residents need to register prior to the day of the meeting. Then, on the evening of the meeting, all they need to do is click on the “Online Meeting” icon that is placed on the home page just before the meeting begins (and is removed the following morning).

Online Meeting Topics: July 30

Traffic & Road Construction

August 27

Growth & Zoning Issues

September 24

Citizen’s Complaints – Code Enforcement

October 29

Business Licenses & Other Business Permits

November 20

Crime Prevention, Safety & Community Policing

As an added service, the City posts meeting transcripts on its web site for those who may have missed it. Transcripts of the July 30 meeting are currently available on the site.

The monthly meetings were developed by an alliance between the Information Technologies Department and the Office of Communications. They are scheduled to take place on the last Tuesday of each month, from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Topics have been selected based on a previously conducted on-line survey, according to Minich, who says that the next meeting will address zoning and growth issues.

This is not Las Vegas’ first experience with online meetings. Previously, City Council members moderated several meetings that were geared to their specific city ward.

“Although we have had different levels of participations during our previous meetings, both ward specific and city wide, we believe that participation will increase as residents learn about the monthly meetings which are regularly and consistently scheduled,” Minich says.

And resident participation – both quantity and quality – will be the key factor in determining the success of these meetings. Increased citizen participation? Improved interaction between government and residents? We believe the odds are in favor of a sure win-win scenario.