2018-06-09 June Forum

The forum was convened at the Chelsea District Library in the McKune Room at 10:15am. Pam Byrnes and Jeff Reynhout co-moderated. Three topics were proposed and discussed:

1. Duties and objectives of the Human Rights Commission

2. Status and future of the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority

3. Possible changes to forum time and location

Discussions

1. Human Rights Commission- There appears to be no mechanism by which individuals outside of the city can address human rights grievances. This is the the context of a reported human rights violation in which an African-American door-to-door solicitor was stopped and questioned by local Chelsea police. It was suggested that Chelsea Police be trained in violence reduction techniques. It was also pointed out that both the Chelsea Police and the Human Rights Commission are both amenable to citizens (even if not Chelsea residents) questioning practices.

2. Future of the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority- The Chelsea DDA was formed in 1985. Its funding is based on a Tax Increment Funding principle in which revenue is proportional to the increase in real value of the properties within the district. Now over 30 years old, the DDA is maxing out its share of tax captured from other taxing authorities within the district. Perhaps we need to explore alternative economic development models, such as replacing the DDA with an Economic Development Office within the City of Chelse.

3. Forum attendance- Attendance has been declining recently, and some time has been spent exploring the reasons for it recently:

a. It was felt that the mid-morning event time was particularly inconvenient to potential attendees. The start time of 10:15 was chosen to conform with the Library start time of 10 am. The consensus of attendees is that we should move to an earlier time and find a venue which could accommodate. The Chelsea Wellness Center and the Chelsea Senior Center were both suggested as forum locations and will be explored.

b. Tweaking the selection of topics was also discussed. It was suggested that topics announced ahead of time could enhance interest.

c. It was also suggested that an intern (perhaps a student) could be recruited to carry out some of the administrative tasks associated with the forum

The forum was adjourned at 11:20am