Breckenridge fourth-grade students met with City Council members to learn about local government at city hall on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Mayor Russ Wilson, City Administrator Renae Smith and City Council member Reed Johnson sat with students to answer questions about their jobs and local government.
“This is our city council chambers. This is where we hold our city council meetings on the first and third Monday of every month. At special meetings and committee meetings we usually gather around the table to listen and discuss city matters,” Wilson said.
Wilson asked the students what questions they had for them and in a near choreographed unison, students pulled out a sheet of notebook lined paper with questions.
What does a mayor do, how do you become a mayor, do you like being the mayor? These questions appeared to be common curiosities the students had.
“I am the spokesman for the city. I conduct the council meetings, but I don’t vote unless there is a case of a tie,“ Wilson said. “I was elected three years ago. Being mayor is a two-year term and I was re-elected last fall.”
“It is not hard being mayor. I find it very rewarding and I enjoy it. I would like to continue to do this. It’s nice knowing what’s going on and I get to work with a good group of people,” Wilson said.
The fourth-grade students are learning about local government in their classroom and moving onto the national government. Students were curious about the meaning of policies and ordinances for the city.
“Policies are more internal that we have within the city and that direct and guide our employees on things that we should do. Whereas ordinances would be laws that we enforce for the city of Breckenridge. Those would be things that a police officer may stop someone for and give them a ticket, speeding for example,” Smith said. “Ordinances are like laws for the city.”
Arly Ohm, fourth-grade teacher, asked the council if they often run into situations where they have to work with others they do not enjoy working with and how they handle that situation.
“What we usually do is we talk and get each other’s opinions. It doesn’t mean we are going to agree on everything, but what we have learned is to respect each other’s opinions. I, a lot of the time, learn from other people. Even if its something that I haven’t thought of or that I don’t agree with. We just learn to respect each other and value their opinions,” Smith said.
Students asked what the council members do for the city and what they enjoy in their free time.
“We do a lot of committee meetings where we make decisions and then it’s brought to the council for approval,” Johnson said.
Smith said she likes to go for morning runs, Wilson enjoys home projects and Johnson enjoys reading.
After each student had asked a question, some multiple, the students and council members thanked each other for their time.
Wilson commented that public service is rewarding and recommends everyone to fun for office.