We know you care about what happens in Mt. Lebanon, but we also know you’re busy—it’s hard to find time to attend a Commission meeting after a long day at work, when you’re catching dinner on the run, taking kids to sports event, helping with homework and supervising baths.
And if you don’t have kids at home, you may be at a time in life where you’re enjoying the chance to travel, do volunteer work, take long walks with your dog or try to get a handle on news that happens in the wide world beyond Mt. Lebanon.
Including busy residents in conversations about local government decisions is one of the Mt. Lebanon Commission’s and staff’s major goals. We want the “silent majority”—not just those who have an up close and personal stake in an issue—to know what is taking place before the Commission makes decisions and spends tax dollars, because decisions often set precedents and have wide-reaching implications.
So how can you keep informed and, when you wish, express your opinion? Here are some tips:
Read Mt. Lebanon Magazine in print or online.
Read other reputable local news media, including the Post-Gazette, the Tribune Review and The Almanac.
Use Mt. Lebanon’s social media. Become an mtl Facebook fan; check out the municipal homepage regularly and familiarize yourself with its search features; subscribe to LeboALERT (click on the button on the home page) for updates about meetings, events, safety alerts, traffic and road conditions and other important things.
Check out the Commission agendas for the discussion and regular meetings that take place the second Tuesday and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 and 8 P.M. respectively. These agendas are posted the preceding Friday.
If you have questions or need clarification on issues under consideration, call or email any department head or Municipal Manager Steve Feller. (All are listed at www.mtlebanon.org; click on “Departments.” If you don’t know whom to call, Public Information Officer Susan Morgans, 412-343-3780, firstname.lastname@example.org, can direct you to the right person. You also may call or email your ward Commissioner or all the Commissioners.
Be sensitive about when you call them, but do not worry about “bothering” them; that goes with being an elected official.
If you have formed an opinion, use the E-comment feature of our Granicus videotaping system to share it with the Commission. Our video system not only broadcasts commission meetings in the days following the meeting but also permits you to comment on agenda items right up until the afternoon of the meeting.
This E-comment feature has been underutilized so far, but it is a simple way to let the Commission know how you feel about an issue prior to a discussion session or a vote.
You may comment on an agenda item as soon as the agenda is posted. If you sign up under the “public meetings” category of LeboALERT, you will receive a text or email when a public meeting agenda is posted.
Talk with your neighbors. If you find you have a shared concern about a community or neighborhood issue and everyone can’t attend the Commission meeting, appoint a delegate or delegation who can attend and share the message you’ve all agreed upon. If several people are able to attend, ask each one to address a different aspect of the issue so they’re not repeating each other. If no one can attend the meeting, contact your ward Commissioner or all the Commissioners.
Depending on your issue, attend an advisory board meeting (such as planning, parks or historic preservation) or review their agendas and minutes. Agendas and minutes are online as are videos of board meetings.
Most of these volunteer boards, which advise the Commission, meet monthly. All accept public comments that eventually may be included in a recommendation to the Commission.
Watch videos of the Commission’s discussion sessions. The discussion sessions, which begin at 6:30 p.m. before the regular 8 p.m. meetings, is where Commissioners talk about issues that may come up for vote. These meeting videos are online, permanently archived by topic. You’ll find out about evolving issues in time to share your opinion with the Commission, in person, by phone, letter or email or via E-comment.
If you really care about an issue, share your opinion at a Commission meeting. (Don’t assume that just because a lot of people are talking about an issue someone who agrees with you will show up!) Public comment is always at the start of the regular meeting, and you are free to leave as soon as you have spoken. If you want to speak, sign the sheet at the back of the room and remember that comments are limited to five minutes per speaker. And comments are preferable to questions, although depending on the time available, Commissioners may be able answer a question.