Meeting to strengthen municipal cohesion deemed a success

11 years ago

By Natalie Bazinet
Staff Writer

CARIBOU — A special meeting between the Caribou City Councilors and the department heads has set an extremely positive tone for the upcoming budget season — which is what Interim City Manager Margaret Daigle had hoped for when she coordinated the gathering.

“It was actually far better than I had hoped,” Daigle said, explaining just how the casual gathering between the council and department heads was beneficial.

Through friendly discussion, it was revealed that department heads choose to work for the city because they want to do good things for Caribou and the people who live here.

It turns out that the people who serve on the council also do so because they want to do good things for the city of Caribou and the people who live here.

“It was a surprise to some people to learn that we’re all on the same page and we’re in this together,” Daigle explained.

Though the city just recently concluded a tough budget season, the process is about to kick off once more and this time, the budget will be formulated under new rules and deadlines set by the new Caribou Charter.

As Daigle explained, creating a budget under the new charter will take time, effort and energy to make sure that all participants have the information they need in order to better understand the city’s finances.

“There will be a clear and adequate process for people to be engaged with the budget early on,” she said.

The councilors and department heads also discussed the possibility of sharing an editorial column in the Aroostook Republican where each department would have an opportunity to inform the public about various activities and actions.

During their informal two-hour meeting, the councilors and department heads were able to discuss a variety of facets that make up the big picture, including budgets, services, capital equipment purchases, how the city is delivering services to the community and even how Caribou became the city that it is through a process of citizen demand.

“[The councilors and department heads] needed to understand that we’re all going in the same direction, we’re just taking separate roads,” Daigle said.

The meeting was held at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center on Aug. 28 and modest refreshments of finger sandwiches and a tray of sweets were served.

Daigle said that some have expressed their opinion that the meeting was “extravagant,” but she emphasized the importance of holding the meeting at a neutral site.

“The times going forward are going to get tougher and tougher, and if they have a good working relationship they can solve the problems that occur,” Daigle said, adding that this was probably the first of many meetings between the council and department heads to encourage a good working relationship.

The next meeting of the Caribou City Council takes place on Monday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Councilor’s Chambers.