There’s a lot going on in our small Valley these days. Duxbury is facing a budget shortfall, the need to fix its town garage and a couple of bond votes.

Waitsfield, Warren and Fayston are considering how and whether to bring a proposal for a local option tax to voters next year.  Waitsfield is working on a charter change to allow it to enact either a shared tri-town LOT or its own LOT. Moretown is working on a library relocation, its sidewalk and its own road issues.

All five Valley towns and Waterbury are heavily engaged in our shared Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) and how that district might be redesigned. That redesign will likely result in the closure of Valley elementary schools.

Members of the Mad River Valley Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) are in negotiations with Green Mountain Transit on what our public transportation plan will be for the coming year.

(Side note: Local TAC folks have worked out a solution so that residents of Evergreen Place who want a ride to the Mad River Green, Shaw’s and Village Square won’t have to catch a southbound bus and go up to Sugarbush before getting dropped off at the shopping centers on a northbound bus. Well done.)

The good news amid all these projects and issues is that local folks are paying attention. People are showing up for select board meetings, public hearings, school board hearings, housing coalition hearings, transportation hearings and more.

They are showing up and they are asking questions and they are making their opinions known. They are connected to their elected officials and their fellow community members.

In an era when far too many people are only “connected” to each other and their communities via social media, we’ve got genuine connection and participation going on here.

Public participation in the process is the only way to affect outcomes. Shining the light of public scrutiny on the process – regardless of what the process or policy or plan is – is critical. Elected and appointed officials are not psychic. It’s critical that we stay engaged, continue to pay attention and continue to participate.

There’s an awful lot going on here.