City council meets for first time tonight

By Gus Bode

City council meets for first time tonight

New seven-member council to get right to work

There will little time for adjustment at tonight’s first meeting of the new seven-member City Council.

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After some cake, the five new members will put their voting powers to work on a number of issues the council will take action on.

Most of the business will involve ordinances and resolutions relating to small contracts with businesses or landowners and even a declaration of “Fair Days” for the 2003 Sunset Concerts. City Clerk Janet Vaught said most of the new members are familiar with the workings of the council so it should not be hard for them to adjust from sitting in the audience and listening to sitting in front of the city and voting.

“They’re going to jump in with both feet,” Vaught said. “We kept the agenda light for them. There’s nothing really that controversial on there.”

With the council expanding by two members, a new table has been added for more seating in the meeting room at City Hall. Vaught said one change made is that City Attorney Paige Reed will sit with the audience instead of the council because seating is limited. Vaught said she will still be on hand if any legal issues come up, but her services at council meetings usually go unutilized, so her sitting with the council was not necessary.

The seven council members will continue to be joined by Vaught and City Manager Jeff Doherty.

Mayor-elect Brad Cole said he is getting ready for his new position by moving into the mayor’s office at City Hall, where Mayor Neil Dillard resided for 16 years. With his new title, Cole said he expects the meetings to be slightly different than they have been in his previous years in office.

“It’s going to be different,” Cole said. “Not just because of where I sit, but the flow of the meetings and the pace of things will all be up to me. It’s going to be new for everybody.”

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Cole will move from the far right side of the council and enjoy his new seat in the center.

Another change that comes with the new council is the ability to meet outside of City Council meetings in groups of no more than three councilmen, which is less than half of the council, to discuss issues on the council agenda. With the old council having only five members, those in office were prohibited by law from meeting with each other outside of a public forum.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. with a welcoming of the new members to office and the eating of cake, followed by regular business. The council will continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis.

Reporter Brian Peach can be reached at [email protected]

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