Tuesday, December 12, 2000
Steamboat Springs City Council meetings may never be the same. Council moved to adjust its current meeting schedule Tuesday night to attempt to deal with more long-range goals.
Council will now tackle the nuts and bolts issues of city government every first and third Tuesday of the month while dedicating the second Tuesday entirely to discussing long-range goals.
The new system will likely be implemented by February, Councilman Ken Brenner said.
"The only way we can solve community issues is to sit down and debate about them," said Council President Pro Tem Kathy Connell. "In the current system, we're not giving enough time to the important issues."
Council will continue to meet on the first, second and third Tuesdays of the month.
In a sample meeting agenda presented to council by City Clerk Julie Jordan-Struble, the first and third agendas contained most of the usual council fare, including a consent calendar and Planning Commission referrals. Those two agendas did not, however, include work sessions, which have traditionally allowed for more discussion of long-range community planning. The work sessions will be replaced by the long-range goals meeting.
"Under the current system, we'll be talking about the direction we want the city to go in and then we'll turn around and deal with a zoning change or a development permit," Brenner said.
Brenner said the dramatic shift in the meetings after the work sessions disrupt the council's ability to plan for the future.
After the one-hour work sessions, council usually has to deal with other legislative issues, such as liquor licenses and commission appointments, which are more detail-oriented.
The long-range meetings will occur on the middle Tuesday in order to make sure Planning Commission referrals do not have to be delayed for almost a full month, Connell said.
At a recent retreat, council generated a list of the goals it wants to meet in the next few months, which included developing an employee housing linkage program, finalizing an adequacy of public facilities ordinance and adopting a new comprehensive plan, and adopting a revised Community Development Code. Each of these items would be topics for discussion at long-range priority-setting meetings, Brenner said.
Those items, due in part to their complexity, will likely require more time to review. Also, Connell added, the community deserves a chance to debate some of the contentious issues brought up by those goals. In the longer-range sessions, council can spend more time discussing the issues and getting community input before coming to any decisions, Connell said.
"Rather than getting stuck on some of the small stuff, we need time to be in discussion mode rather than decision mode," Connell said.
Council decided that joint meetings between council and other entities such as the County Commissioners will be conducted during the second Tuesday time slot.