Tuesday, February 27, 2024

City Council approves change to public meeting schedule

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The Gatesville City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to shift from holding two to one regularly scheduled public meeting each month.

The city normally meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. City Manager Scott Albert proposed the change as a way to provide more time for city staff to prioritize several city projects without the interruption of a meeting every two weeks. However, Albert said the city will call a second meeting on the fourth Tuesday of each month as well as special meetings when necessary.

“It would be helpful for me and staff if we had a little bit of a gap so we’re not stopping every other week to start preparing for a council meeting while I’m getting caught up on some of these projects,” Albert said.

Based on the decision, the council will only hold a public meeting on the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. The plan is to revise the schedule for the next six months before shifting back to meetings twice a month.

Despite the approval of the change, some council members expressed concerns about revising the meeting schedule.   

“I think reducing the amount of meetings reduces transparency between the city and the public,” Council Member Meredith Rainer said.

“The public is what I would be worried about,” Council Member Aaron Smith said. “Them not being able to stand up and speak to us and ask questions.”

Rainer adds that one meeting per month could potentially extend the length of regular meetings, especially when some ordinances require several readings.

Albert assured the council that a second meeting would be scheduled to expedite any significant decision-making matters.

“Perhaps the second meeting can just be shorter – just some basic things that need to get done – just so that the city is not spending an inordinate amount of time getting ready for it and they can continue on with what they’re doing,” Mayor Gary Chumley said.

Due to the holidays, some recent city council meetings were already held once a month. According to the City of Gatesville Charter, the City Council should hold at least one regular meeting per month.

Albert said the city will still hold a second public meeting on Jan. 23. 

The Gatesville City Council calendar can be found on https://www.gatesvilletx.com/meetings.