City of Fredericksburg Facebook Q&A

Fredericksburg Holds First Ever Facebook Q&A

by | Apr 11, 2016 | Government

By Susan Larson. Photo L to R: Assistant City Manager Mark Whitley, City Manager Bev Cameron, Kevin Brown, City Budget Manager Deidre Jett answer questions from Fredericksburg residents during the Facebook Q&A April 7, 2016. Photo copyright Fredericksburg Today.

The City of Fredericksburg held its first ever moderated Facebook Q&A from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 7, 2016.

City Manager Bev Cameron, Assistant City Manager Mark Whitley, and Budget Manager Deidre Jett answered questions about the city manager’s proposed FY2017 budget. Executive Assistant Brenda Martin provided administrative support.

City resident Kevin Brown had proposed the idea for an online discussion to City Manager Cameron, and he was at the head of the table Thursday night, typing the answers from city staff into the Facebook group page he’d created for the event — FXBG City Council Public Forum. The city does not have its own Facebook page.

Brown started the group Facebook page On The Fredericksburg Va Trails in 2015, and that’s part of what inspired him to propose the budget Q&A to City Manager Cameron. “I saw the way people could be reached with social media, and their willingness to respond and be engaged,” Brown said. He said he was surprised at how quickly Cameron said yes to his proposal. “It shows how open minded he is.”

“There’s a lot of interest out there you don’t know about,” Cameron said at the end of the Q&A. “We did our best to provide thoughtful and informative answers.”

“Social media really opens up a lot of doors for communication,” Brown said. “Tonight’s Q&A enabled people to contribute and discuss without having to come to a meeting and wait in line. It’s another way to communicate, and a way a lot of us communicate today,” Brown said.

The questions were answered by city staff, and emailed to Brown, who copied and pasted them in reply to questions on Facebook. The questions ranged from real estate taxes, capital improvements, funding for Riverfront Park and the VCR Trail, and the future vision and funding strategy for homelessness issues.

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