City Council Discuss Meeting Guidelines

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Published on January 16 2013 3:21 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Much of Tuesday night's Effingham City Council was taken up with debate on how meetings should be conducted; specifically, how the public should be handled as far as speaking at Council meetings.

Commissioner Brian Milleville is no fan of time limits on members of the public or Council members, for that matter.  Milleville said if things get out of hand, the Mayor can institute controls to manage things.

City Attorney Tracy Berberich argued that there is case law on restricting time to speak and is trying to advise the Council accordingly.

Commissioner Matt Hirtzel conducts public meetings on a regular basis in his work for IDOT and said he disagrees with some of the restrictions imposed on those who attend Council meetings.  Hirtzel said those who attend his meetings are often in disagreement with what they're hearing and voice their complaints, but said it is manageable.

Berberich and City Administrator Jim Arndt countered that the guidelines they favor are the result of guidelines from the Illinois Municipal League.

The matter was on the agenda for discussion, not a vote.  If you have thoughts on the matter, let your City officials know how you feel.

The Council rezoned a lot at 911 North Henrietta and approved a special use permit for the property so a house there can be replaced with a new dental office for Dr. Brian Balda later this year.  Council members also approved the purchase of equipment needed to help the water treatment plant operate without being staffed overnight.

The Council also renewed an employee assistance program agreement with Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and issued a liquor license that will allow the re-opening of Ichabod's Bar and Grill on South Banker.

There was discussion of purchasing a heavy rescue squad vehicle for the fire department, approval of a change in the personnel policy excluding firefighters from probationary periods, and an agreement that will allow cheaper natural gas purchases.