There are many factors affecting the success of a community. I believe that one of the most important factors is the willingness of citizens to become involved in the process of good government. Our community is certainly no different. We really heavily on citizens who care about their community to staff the many boards and commissions that comprise city government. These working groups allow our local government to function in a manner that most effectively represents the views of the greater community.

I know that everyone recognizes the role played by citizens who run for public office. Our city council, for example, is comprised of those who are willing to give of their time and talent to help guide local government in a sound manner and I am convinced each member wants the same thing, a better community. Although it is certainly true that individual members might envision a different path on which to create that better community the common goal unites everyone in a collective wisdom that reflects very well on our community.

Unfortunately, I feel that everyone is much less aware of the role played by caring citizens on the many other boards and commissions that allow city government to function properly. It is easy to read about the actions and decisions of the Board of Works, Plan Commission, Golf Course Authority, Board of Zoning Appeals, Redevelopment Commission, Police Commissioners, Housing Authority, Park Board, Aviation Commission, Utility Service Board, Historic Preservation Commission, Storm Water Board, or the Economic Development Commission and forget that those groups are made up of concerned citizens giving of their time and talent for the good of all. It is truly your friends and neighbors who comprise these important groups that are so vital to the success of our community. Although there are too many individuals to list by name if you know any of these members please thank them for their service to the community.

In today's busy world it is growing increasingly difficult to find citizens who are capable of giving of their time. Complicated schedules at home and work often stand in the way of one's willingness to serve but I am confident that those who have served on a board or commission will tell you they found it to be a rewarding experience. Most appointments to the various boards and commissions are split between the Mayor and City Council and we are always looking for interested citizens who are willing to serve. I truly believe we are on a path of positive progress and many good opportunities for our community are now within reach. This is an exciting time and I would encourage anyone who would like to become involved and possibly serve on a board or commission to contact me or any city council member. I can be reached at 765-364-5160 or via email at

The future success of our community truly rests with everyone's willingness to become involved and take part.

Barton is the mayor of Crawfordsville as well as a former fire chief and consultant. His column appears each month in The Paper of Montgomery County.