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Tallmadge -- City Council is considering legislation which would change its meeting schedule, starting next year.
Presently, full Council convenes at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at city hall, 46 North Ave. Committee of the Whole meetings take place the preceding Monday.
During the Committee of the Whole meetings, committees convene to discuss issues. The committees then make recommendations to Council for action at its regular meetings. Time for discussion and public input is more limited at regular Council meetings.
Legislation sponsored by Carol Kilway (Ward 4) proposes that Council's committee meetings be changed to immediately precede Council meetings; that means, committees would convene at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at city hall, with full Council convening at 7:30 p.m. on the same days and at the same location.
Kilway says in the five years she has been on Council, much has been done "to streamline things." For instance, she notes Council members now have laptop computers which allow them to access and research legislation prior to committee meetings.
"I know how busy everyone on Council is," Kilway says, adding, "And most of us are not just involved with City Council. We have full-time jobs and we have other civic organizations that we're part of. Changing the meeting schedule would mean we wouldn't have to come in twice in that week -- we'd still have two meetings -- they'd just be back-to-back."
Law Director Megan Raber described the proposal as a means of "consolidating" Council meetings to one evening instead of two.
Council member John D. Rensel (at large) observed the present schedule "gives residents who are unable to make it to one meeting (the opportunity) to come to the other meeting and give their input."
"When we have people on the outside coming in, like developers, that's one thing and it saves them a meeting ... I appreciate that," Rensel stated. "But there's other legislation that affects the residents and I'm not sure I want to cut down their opportunities to speak to Council and share their views "
Rensel said he had not decided how he will vote on the proposed change.
While acknowledging Rensel's concern, Raber said it is becoming more common for residents to share their concerns with city officials via email or phone calls.
Mayor Dave Kline said the number of meetings isn't being reduced; it is their sequence which is proposed to be altered. Kline noted developers pay their employees to attend both the Monday and Thursday meetings in order to monitor the status of legislation which affects them; if the change is enacted, those employees would only have to attend on Thursday, saving both time and money, according to the mayor.
Council is scheduled to conduct a third reading on the proposal Oct. 24. The regular Council meeting originally scheduled for Oct. 27 has been changed to Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. because of Beggar's Night and the traditional street dance taking place on Oct. 27.
Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC