AUBURN — With a majority of new members on the City Council and budget season right around the corner, Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said he sees a series of neighborhood meetings as a good introduction.

“I don’t expect to see the full council at all of these, but I expect you will see a few at each,” LaBonte said Tuesday. “It’s a chance for them to hear the concerns from the community firsthand, and some of the things people see as opportunities. We have a short window before we are headlong into the budget process, so we need to help them along in the learning curve. I think these meetings will be a key part of that.”

The city is hosting the series of neighborhood meetings one night for the next four weeks in different parts of the city.

“I’m eager to hear how different each of the four conversations will be,” LaBonte said. “Obviously, Auburn is a big city and there are different needs and challenges from north to south.”

The series kicks off at 6 p.m. Thursday in the band room at Edward Little High School. Anyone is welcome to attend, but it’s meant for residents of Wards 1, 2, 3 and 4, parents of students at Park Avenue and Washburn elementary schools and Edward Little High School and people who live around those schools.

The series continues at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 in the community room at the East Auburn School, and is meant for Ward 1 residents and parents with students at East Auburn and Washburn elementary schools.

On Feb. 4 the series goes to the gymnasium at Walton School for residents of Wards 4 and 5 and parents with students at Walton and Sherwood Heights elementary schools.

The series wraps up at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 in the band room at Auburn Middle School for Wards 2, 3 and 4 residents and parents of students at the middle school and at Fairview Elementary School.

LaBonte said he and city staff are prepared to listen more than they talk. Representatives from neighborhood schools will get a chance to talk about what they are doing, but those will be brief.

“I’m hoping we get good citizen input,” LaBonte said. “This is not a dog-and-pony show of what the city and schools are doing, although there will be that opportunity.”

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