D66: Utrechters should determine the city’s agenda

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Political grouping the D66 wants more residents of Utrecht to be able to introduce their own proposals to the agenda of the city council.

The ‘Burgeragendering’ would be a major contribution, says D66 council member Has Bakker.

D66 councillor Has Bakker feels that any Utrecht resident should be in a position to place a motion on the agenda. The idea is to increase the involvement of local residents in Utrecht’s democracy.

He feels that at the moment it is too difficult to do this and wants to make it simpler to achieve more local democracy.

Utrechters already have the chance to ask their council members directly with their wishes or ideas, their contacts are available online at the municipality website. Residents can also use the right of access to a council information meeting, start a petition or start a citizens’ initiative. As a last resort there is the possibility of an advisory referendum on a decision taken.

Bakker feels that although residents already have a lot of possibilities, they don’t really use them and feels that the Burgeragendering would make it easier.

His idea is that after an idea has been put forward by an individual that a committee would look at the proposal. At the end of this discussion, they would decide whether they wanted to refer it to the full city council. It would mean Utrecht residents would gain more influence, as they would decide what the council members talked about. It is all about giving some power to the people, a very positive and progressive attitude towards local politics.

Bakker thinks that many relatively small-scale subjects are suitable. These would then be guaranteed to be discussed with the Burgeragendering in place. He says for example that in Oog in Al recently, residents wanted a safer crossing at Pijperlaan. What are the council doing about this, if indeed they actually do something at all he wondered? He wants the residents to be at the forefront to make sure that this discussed properly and that change does happen.

Bakker also feels strongly that we need to involve young people more and that young people from twelve years old must be involved in the city and politics. If they have a question they could raise it with the council. This already happens in other municipalities, such as Almere. Again this is a very positive approach. Young people are of course our future and they have as much right to put forward a view that affects their future as well.

The proposal  will be presented to the council on Thursday and then the proposal is likely to be voted on at the Council in November.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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