Where’s the public at public meetings?

Local

(WEHT)- With projects planned for Evansville’s Lloyd Expressway and water treatment facility, taxpayer dollars are certainly on the line, so why aren’t public meetings more popular?

While some meetings, like the meetings related to Posey County’s solar farm proposal, have certainly drawn crowds, INDOT Southwest communications director Jason Tiller says there are a few reasons why public meetings have drawn smaller crowds.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic motivating people to stay home and stay away from crowds, Tiller says having multiple meetings for the same project means people will simply go to the meeting that best fits their schedule, rather than everyone going to one meeting.

Rev. William Payne is part of a group called Evansville is Tapped Out that is organizing opposition to the proposed water treatment plant and proposed water rate hike that goes with it. Rev. Payne says attending some meetings, including Tuesday’s EWSU meeting, are fruitless, comparing it to rushing into a building with buckets of water after the fire department already put out the fire.

Rev. Payne says the cards have been stacked against certain communities in Evansville who cannot afford the rate hike and people don’t have the will to fight a losing battle. Still, he says people remain very interested and engaged in fighting the new project and rate hike, even if they aren’t attending every meeting.

Rev. Payne says the group will fight the project as the state becomes more involved, perhaps bringing the public back to public meetings.

(This story was originally published on April 22, 2021)

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