Newburyport's first Annual Public Forum will be held at City Hall Auditorium on May 9th from 7 – 9 p.m.  As its name suggests, it is an opportunity for the citizens of Newburyport to share their thoughts on current city topics with each other and their city councillors.  Coming as it does during the budgeting process, this forum will provide valuable input to the decisions being considered for the 2003 budget. 


The format of the meeting:

  • Introduction and break into sub-groups by ward to discuss “what’s going well” and “issues” where
  • neighborhood level dialogue is recorded, with those priorities emerging when
  • reassembling into the total group where everyone will hear “what’s going well” and “issues” from each sub-group,
  • thereby having an opportunity to comment about themes that are shared across the city.

This forum is not intended to provide answers or easy resolutions; it is intended for constituents to consult with each other and their councillors on their priorities and influence how these priorities are addressed in the budgetary process.


Your city councillors invite and encourage you to participate in this forum.  It is our hope that this renewed form of democratic city government will be Newburyport's “first annual public forum.”



Mayor Lavender's invitation urged the attendance of commissioners, committees and board members, expressing the the intention that ...


"Hearing the dialogue on topics which cross wards and cross committees’ lines will help the city boards and committees to work more collaboratively."






An Annual Public (“town meeting”) Forum in which Newburyport citizens can consult with councillors and make recommendations regarding local government during the budgeting process.


OBJECTIVES (paraphrased from minutes of the City Council ad hoc committee, March 4, 2002)


·        discuss issues and gather information, not provide answers

·        focus on citizens speaking and councilors listening

·        allow everyone to hear what is important on a neighborhood level as well as city-wide





7:00 - 7:15

·        welcome, purpose, etc.

·        meeting agenda & flow

·        ward designations & councillors (for those who may not know their ward or councilor's name)


7:15 - 8:00

·        Sub-group meetings with each of 6 ward councillors;

·        councillors-at-large each join a ward group;

·        one recorder assigned to each group to capture key words & "moderate" as required

·        10 minutes: introductions, what is going well, what do we appreciate that has happened or is happening

·        30 minutes: wishes, concerns, issues


8:00 - 8:40

·        time to reassemble in large group & position flipcharts at front of room

·        each recorder presents "what's going well" and "issues" from their meeting, though not answers or any response about the citizens' comments (5 minutes each)


8:40 - 8:55

·        observations & comments from large group [moderated by facilitator(s)]


8:55 - 9:00

·        wrap up & closure