In local government, we often talk about the importance of civic engagement. When residents stay involved by voting and providing input, their engagement helps us meet their needs. However, just being engaged isn’t enough: Informed engagement is crucial because if residents have an accurate understanding of the issues, they can identify what they like and don’t like and provide feedback in a constructive manner.
Staying informed can seem like a daunting task because as we all know, the social media age has brought a wealth of information, but it can be hard to know if that information is accurate. What’s going on at the library? What really happened at that last City Council meeting? Why is the City spending our tax dollars to paint crosswalks? (Spoiler alert: We aren’t). Fortunately, the City government and the Communications department provide residents with plenty of tools to understand what is going on.
Our City Council meets every first and third Tuesday of the month, and the public can participate by attending in person, or even watching it live on YouTube (Victoria Texas Public Meetings) or at www.victoriatx.gov/tv15. Did you know you can skip to parts of past council meetings that interest you? While on the website, you can click on the meeting link and use the “video index” menu to navigate to the discussion topics that interest you. The screen also includes a copy of the agenda to help you follow along, and some agenda items include supplementary memos with useful information.
If you just need a quick summary, visit us on Facebook at City of Victoria, Texas - Government to check out The Rundown, our video series where we give a three- or four-minute recap of actions that were taken at the last Council meeting. This series is designed to give residents a basic, accurate overview of the issues affecting them.
Apart from providing information on public meetings, we work hard each day to make sure residents stay informed about the things their City government is working on: the budget, street projects, community development, downtown revitalization and public amenities (the duck pond, anyone?), just to name a few. We’ve even expanded our platforms, tools and content to better reach you, our community, by livestreaming some events to our social media platforms and local government cable channels when it is feasible. Here are a few more ways you can keep up with your City government:
- Subscribe to our email newsletter. The City publishes a weekly newsletter, The City View, featuring breaking news items in the form of press releases, blog posts and other informative content. To sign up, visit www.victoriatx.gov/cityview.
- Watch our video content. Did you know that the City has its own TV channel managed by Communications? Our local cable channels 15 and 115 are broadcast by TV15,which is the home for our TOWNtalk and Explore Your Victoria TV series as well as informative documentaries; PSAs; and updates from Victoria ISD, Innovation Collective and other community partners.
- Visit us online. To check out all of the Communications department’s content in one place, visit www.victoriatx.gov/communications.
Ashley Strevel is the director of Communications & Public Affairs for the City of Victoria.