BROOKSVILLE — For Brooksville residents interested in improving their home town, city advisory board offer the opportunity to contribute their time and expertise to help the city make good decisions.
These groups meet to consider and review everything from running city parks to policies of the city's housing authority. But while a desire to be a crucial part of the city's operation should be more than enough to fill every one of the city's volunteer boards with willing participants, it often isn't, said Brooksville Vice Mayor Lara Bradburn.
"Finding dedicated, talented people who want to put in the necessary time, effort and heart into being on an advisory board has become more challenging," Bradburn said. "It's very frustrating to see, especially in a city that could really use more citizen involvement."
There are currently nine vacancies on the city's 10 advisory boards. There will likely be several more after Dec. 31, when several of the volunteer terms expire.
"I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the economy," Bradburn said. "People are working more and putting in longer hours. They may not want to spend the time being part of a board."
But others, like Brooksville engineer Alan Garman, say that the idea of community service may not carry the inviting ring it once did.
"Twenty years ago there was more of a sense that people wanted to do things that made the city better for everyone," said Garman, who has served on the city's parks and recreation board since 1994. "There was a greater cooperation and more motivation among businesses, politicians and residents."
Garman said that projects like the Quarry Golf Course and the Jerome Brown Center, both of which were built largely with community funding on donated land, were the types of ideas suggested by the parks and recreation board.
"You had people who wanted to see them built and become a source of pride for everyone involved," Garman said. "It would be much harder to get something like that done today."
Brooksville City Manager Jenenne Norman-Vacha said the city advertises the open positions in the media and on the city's web site. But maybe a more personal effort is needed to attract candidates, she said.
"It could be as simple as reaching out more on a one-on-one basis and appeal to their sense of community. I think there are plenty of people out there with fresh ideas that would want to participate if asked. Maybe no one has asked them yet."
Those wishing to apply for an advisory board position, should contact the Brooksville City Clerk's Office at (352) 540-3853. In addition applications can be found online at www.ci.brooksville.fl.us.
Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]