Last week’s Sunbury City Council meeting on September 20, was a night that would blend governance, community involvement, and heartfelt moments.
A Proclamation and Personal Stories
One of the most poignant moments of the evening came when Mayor St. John read a proclamation declaring September 2023 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in Sunbury. The proclamation highlighted the grim statistics surrounding childhood cancer, including that it is the leading cause of death by disease among children and that only six new drugs have been approved for its treatment in the last 30 years.
Following the proclamation, Larry Preston, a local resident whose son Jackson recently passed away due to cancer, took the podium. Fighting back tears, Preston thanked the city for its support and emphasized the need for increased funding and research. His emotional speech served as a stark reminder of the human faces behind the statistics, galvanizing the council and attendees to advocate for a cause that “deeply impacts families in every community.”
The council then shifted gears to discuss various committee reports. The finance committee had met earlier in the evening, discussing topics ranging from the Gap conversion proposal to the 2024 budget draft. The fire board reported that a new rescue truck is expected by Halloween, and the zoning committee announced a public hearing related to the new zoning code.
Police and Public Works: Updates and Community Engagement
Deputy Chief Wade provided an update on the police department’s activities, including the success of their drone program and the positive impact of School Resource Officers. On the public works front, updates were given on ongoing road projects and upcoming construction activities.
Final Remarks and Reflections
As the meeting drew to a close, council members took turns expressing their pride in the Sunbury community. Whether it was the courage shown by families like the Prestons, the diligent work of civic organizations, or the everyday acts of kindness, the sentiment was clear: Sunbury is a community that comes together in times of need and celebration alike.
Economic Development: A Brief Recess and Final Approvals
Before adjourning, the council took a brief recess to align with the school board, which was simultaneously discussing an economic development deal. Upon reconvening, the council moved to approve the deal, marking a significant step in Sunbury’s ongoing growth and development.
The meeting encapsulated the essence of community governance—where procedural matters coexist with deeply personal stories, and where the decisions made impact not just the present, but also the future of the community. As the council members filed out, there was a palpable sense of unity, a feeling that, in Sunbury, governance is a collective endeavor, deeply rooted in the community it serves.