Council Approves New Start Time for Meetings

Council Chambers

City Communicates OnFocus – The Common Council on a 9-1 vote approved an ordinance change to move the start time of Common Council meetings up from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

“We’ve had plenty of conversations on the side about the idea to move up the meeting times so that we can get to what I call the meteor items, the development agreements, purchase a property, some of those closed session discussions a little bit earlier while we’re still fresh,” said Steve Barg City Administrator.

“At the last meeting on June 12th I recall there were voices both for 6:00 p.m. and for 6:30 p.m.,” said Barg. “I brought it back to you as 6:00 p.m. as originally presented, and for discussion and a vote.”

Councilman Tom Witzel moved an amendment to  change the new start time to 6:30 p.m., referencing comments made at previous meetings.

“Six o’clock is just way too early. People that have to work, people who want to come to the meeting, want to engage – It is going to be difficult for them,” said Alderman Chris Jockheck. “Those of us who do work, and only four of us do, for some of us it gets to be a burden to be able to get home, change grab a bite to eat for what will still be a two and a half, three-hour meeting.”

“We’ve done 7:00 for years. You go into a cycle of a lot of meatier things. Tonight we had two presentations. We’re just now getting to the real agenda, but that’s not always the norm.” said Jockheck.

“We have other committee meetings that meet much earlier, 5:00 or 5:30,” said Alderman Gordon Earll. “I don’t see what the issue is. We seem to have enough members on these other committees that are able to make it at that those times, so I’m for the
six o’clock.”

“I realized that there’s arguments on both sides, and I do understand that a lot of committees start at 5:30,” responded Alderman Tom Witzel. “Those committee meetings are usually an hour, giving us plenty of time to get home and take care of dinner and whatever else afterward. I think 6:30 is a nice compromise to try this to see if it works. If it is continuing to be a late issue, we can always come back and revisit and move it to six o’clock.”

The motion to amend failed 6-4 with aldermen Nick Poechel, Jockheck, Steve McSwain, and Witzel voting yes.

The ordinance passed 9-1 with Alder Jockheck voting no. The first meeting with the new start time will be the August 14t​h ​meeting.