LaGrange Mayor to host two town hall meetings

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, February 13, 2020

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LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton will host his annual town-hall-style meetings in March again this year, but the meetings will have a slight twist compared to previous years.

The town halls will take place on March 12 and 19, and it will involve more city staff than in previous years. Thornton said he wants to make it more of a roundtable discussion than a meeting where he stands up in front of people and talks throughout four sessions.

He said that format has worked in the past, adding that two of the meetings are usually well-attended and two of them aren’t.

This year the mayor is trying out a new experiment with just two meetings, one in the north part of town and one in the south.

The first meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 12 at LaGrange High School. The second meeting will be a week later at 6 p.m. on March 19 at Great Wolf Lodge. 

Those meetings are all open to the public.

Thornton said he would start the meeting with a few comments, but then it will turn into a more interactive meeting. He said members of the city council would be there, along with police, parks, utility and other city departments.

“People will be encouraged to go to different tables based on their interests,” he said. “People will be able to go around and learn a little bit about what is going in those areas.”

Thornton said he’s modeling this meeting after the LaGrange 101 program. 

He said LaGrange 101 has had two classes, who meet for six weeks. The classes focus on a different area of government each week.

“The idea is to replicate that on a small scale and hopefully, some people will want to know more and sign up for LaGrange 101,” he said.

The town hall is meant to be informational for residents about what’s happening in the city but also a listening session for the mayor. 

Thornton said most of the city council has said they will attend, and he hopes they will receive feedback as well.

Thornton said the town halls are held in March for a strategic reason. He said the state of the city address is in February, town halls are done in March and then the council works on the budget in April and March.

“The point is to hear what people want the city to invest in and what they want the city to prioritize,” Thornton said.

He said he could take those concerns back to the city council table and figure out how to prioritize it in the future and work it into the budgeting process.