Long meeting debate makes meeting longer

 A minor change has been made to council meeting times in an attempt to stop them running late into the night.

Meetings will still start at 5pm on the fourth Wednesday of every month, as usual, but the open forum will begin half-an-hour earlier.

Councillor Garry Ware was concerned the most important council decisions were made at the end of the meeting.

“That’s the reason I wanted to move it earlier for,” he said. “We’re rushing through it.”

He had originally put forward a motion to move meetings to 4pm.

Cr Greg Butler requested to change meetings to Monday nights as it’s difficult for him to make the Wednesday night meetings.

“I understand what’s being done [but] if it was a Wednesday I would not be able to get here at 4pm.”

Cr Butler’s motion was lost and it was resolved to leave the time and day as it has been for several years.

But that wasn’t the end of it. Councillors hadn’t resolved the issue of meeting times running over, the main concern for many.

“The end is the problem,” Cr Cecil Burgess said.

“We’ve got a long way to go, Dave [Needham] and I,” he said, referring to their drive home afterwards.

“We’re getting later and later and later.”

Councillors spent more than 20 minutes discussing what could be done to reduce the time spent at council meetings.

“We really should have our wits about us,” Cr McManus said. “If we’re here at half-past nine that’s not really good.”

In the discussion, which included councillors McManus, Jones and Ware hastily signing and handing in a recision motion, it was eventually decided to hold meetings at 5pm, with the open forum section of the meeting starting at 4.30pm.

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