To the editor:

The Advance Collaboration Team (ACT) writes to express our gratitude to the many citizens who attended the ACT public meetings, sent e-mails, and called or spoke personally with us. Many of you shared ideas and offered input regarding how to best structure a countywide Inter-Local Agreement (ILA) for the purpose of advancing community and economic development. 

Others offered support and asked local elected officials to continue to work to find ways for all of our various governmental bodies to work together for the betterment of our entire community.

Debbie, Pete and I also want to take a moment to thank The Madison Courier, its publisher/owner, editor and staff.  Your coverage of the ILA process was instrumental in helping create the momentum that brought the ILA discussion to the forefront. 

As the public became more aware and familiar with the purpose and content of the ILA there was a sense of growing hope and anticipation that local governments would finally begin working together to better leverage our assets, reduce waste and create a more prosperous community for all Jefferson County residents.

ACT supports all groups engaging in the community and economic development process, regardless if the plan is an abbreviated action plan or if it's a full comprehensive, inclusive process.

Unfortunately, by delaying the ILA approval, any plans or ideas that are presented will simply be "paper proposals" until an ILA can be approved.  Of course the only exception being if the Mayor intends to pay for any projects out of the city's existing budget, which then means any plan would not be "countywide" or comprehensive and inclusive.

 This was the first open, all-encompassing, citizen, government partnership for our area and it was a challenge to complete in less than six months. However, with everyone's help the final product was much improved over any offered in the past.  In the fact the proposed ILA was recognized by several communities as a document they wished to copy and use in their own counties.  

Citizens should be very proud, as should all the elected officials who were engaged in or supported the process.  We proved open, inclusive governing does work and that citizens can work closely and openly with elected officials to create pathways to a better community for us all without the expense of an outside consultant.

The ILA was not approved but the goal of having a countywide inclusive and collaborative Community Development Council is not going away.

Larry Wynn, County Council,

Pete Backus, Madison City Council

and Debbie Kroger, Hanover Town Council