The Westmoreland County commissioners are heading out into the countryside.
Commissioners announced Tuesday they will conduct three public meetings outside of the Westmoreland County Courthouse this spring and summer.
“We’ll hopefully have the public there,” said Commissioner Sean Kertes.
Here are the locations, times and dates:
• The activity center at Northmoreland Park in Allegheny Township will host the June 6 meeting at 7 p.m.
• On July 18 the commissioners will conduct their public meeting at 10 a.m. at Student Achievement Center on the campus of the Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood.
• The meeting scheduled for Aug. 22 will be convened at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Creek Park Activity Center in Rostraver.
Commissioners also said the April 4 public meeting at the courthouse in Greensburg will be shifted from its traditional morning start to 7 p.m.
“I am hoping the public takes the opportunity to come to the meetings,” said Commissioner Doug Chew. “It’s important we are at least trying to be transparent and give the people a chance to engage with the government.”
At the relocated meetings, the commissioners will conduct general county business that includes voting on contracts, potentially approving new hires and awarding proclamations. They will also convene a separate voting session, as they regularly do at the courthouse, to consider items for the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp.
The decision to barnstorm through the county comes on the heels lobbying from taxpayers who spoke at the commissioners’ meeting in late January. They requested that the commissioners conduct public meetings during evening hours and in locations outside of Greensburg to provide better access to residents who can’t travel to the courthouse or attend during morning hours.
The commissioners typically convene their public meetings at 10 a.m.
Last summer, the county held two public meetings outside of the courthouse: one in June at Historic Hanna’s Town to celebrate the county’s 250th birthday and another in July at Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood as part of the county’s human services fair.
For two years in the early 2000s, the commissioners took a handful their public meetings to various municipal buildings throughout the county but abandoned the road trips due to an apparent lack of public interest.
Commissioner Ted Kopas said it was time again to bring county government into communities throughout Westmoreland County.
“I’ve been a proponent of this for some time,” he said. “I am hopeful that when we take our show on the road, it’s an opportunity for us to engage with our constituents as much as possible.”
Rich Cholodofsky is a TribLive reporter covering Westmoreland County government, politics and courts. He can be reached at [email protected].