| 2 min read | by Doug Marrin |

Dexter Firehall Townhall on April 27

Not agreement over building a new station, but agreement over what to do regarding the next firehall townhall. As subtle as it might be, we’ll take it.

When the subject of the new firehall came up at the Dexter City Council meeting Monday night, instead the usual going all Lannisters and Starks on each other, council found their way to the higher ground of a common cause – how best to adequately inform the public and then after informing them, soliciting their feedback – a process that has frustrated residents and council members alike.

“We’re asking residents to make a choice but haven’t enabled them to do so,” said council member Zach Michels during discussion of having another firehall townhall. “If we want the public’s input, it is up to us on the council to educate them, to give them the necessary information so they can make an informed decision.”

Mayor Keough concurred.

“One of the takeaways from the previous (townhall) meeting was that we were all over the map,” said Mayor Keough, “There were a lot of things presented. I think the general feedback is we need to narrow it down.”

Council found their way to the higher ground of a common cause – how best to adequately inform the public and then after informing them, soliciting their feedback.

Zach is in favor of building a new fire station. Mayor Keough has supported remodeling the current firehall which has now been taken out of consideration by a motion passed at the May 28 meeting. But for a moment The Wall melted and the two sides agreed that residents should be more engaged with the process and the way to do that is to do a better job with the information.

Instead of a townhall where two options are presented and may the best one win, kind of a trial by combat like Bronn and that guy in the Eyrie, council discussed focusing the next townhall on outlining the necessary requirements for an adequate facility in this day and age. The idea is that after people heard what was needed, they could voice what their priorities might be in regards to making those requirements happen – cost, location, response time, longevity, amenities for firefighters, training capabilities, etc. – with the idea that Council would then pursue the ideas that best match the public’s priorities.

Also discussed was possibly bringing in an expert on fire stations who could consult council and/or present at the townhall. Council is working on a date for a public meeting.

If you’ve had trouble keeping all the information straight, don’t feel bad. Newest council member Scott Bell has also found it difficult to get a grasp on the gyrating mass of information, much less what to do with it. He has remained neutral until the data becomes clear and concise, which also includes clear public feedback.

“I would find it valuable to hear another voice,” he told the council during the discussion. “I’d like to know who this expert is and there might be some value in council meeting with this person.”

So for now anyway, the two sides have joined forces. There would be no dragon flying around burning the city tonight, which would be ironic. And while it is encouraging to see council pulling together to serve the interests of their community, hopefully things will keep moving forward. We’ve been at this a long time and (another) winter is coming.