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The meaning of a dedicated 'regular:' Few residents make it a point to attend local government meetings

Town board, planning board and zoning board meetings are a regular part of Bethlehem resident Bob Jasinski's monthly schedule. While many residents are not even aware of when and where these local government meeting are, Jasinski makes it a point to attend and take part. When his schedule has a conflict, he looks to his daughter to cover for him. A dedicated community member, Jasinski said he feels being a "regular" at these meetings is simply part of his civic duty.

"I feel it is so important to take part in local government. It is our only chance to have a voice, to be heard," said Jasinski.

Jasinski, who has run for town supervisor several times, said he worries that people today are too busy with work, school and families to slow down and make time to care about local politics. He said he is disappointed that more people do not find the time, although he conceded that the times of town meetings are not always suitable for "working people."

"In my town meetings are sometimes held at 5:30 which doesn't work for a lot of people with full time jobs and kids to care for," said Jasinski.

He the town recently held a riverfront meeting that he had to miss because of its timing.

"One of my biggest concerns is making sure our town holds these meetings at the time that works for the majority of people. We need to get people out and involved, and we need to make sure it all works with today's busy world," said Jasinski.

From Bethlehem to Clifton Park, those community members who are familiar faces at local meetings said they are grateful for their chances to speak up to those who make the decisions that affect things such as taxes and land development.

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