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The Palm Coast City Council has generally met four times a month, with a business meeting the first and third Tuesday of the month, and a workshop the second and final Tuesday of the month. But the council has decided to eliminate the second workshop of the month — the one that falls on the last Tuesday — leaving only one per month. The schedule for business meetings is unchanged.
The council discussed the proposal during a workshop on Jan. 28, 2019, and the change has been implemented starting this month.
City Manager Matt Morton noted that the council has had a series of recent workshops with light agendas, averaging 82 minutes.
“It began to feel, at least from my perspective, that the council is showing up to serve the agenda rather than the agenda serving the council and our community," he said.
Occasionally, the board has very long workshops, he said, but those are one-off events where the board is dealing with an unusually heavy agenda, as sometimes occurs after holiday absences.
Workshops were first implemented for City Council in 2007, Morton said, and are not in the city charter, which simply requires that the council meet once a month.
From an information processing and agenda management perspective, Morton said, one workshop a month would work. The council could always hold a second workshop if needed, he said.
Mayor Milissa Holland was in favor of the change.
"I have watched us have workshops just to have workshops, where there may be one item or two items on the agenda. I think having the one makes a lot of sense," she said.
Councilman Bob Cuff supported giving the reduced schedule a try, but also urged the city to ensure adequate opportunities for the council to discuss agenda items.
“I think we need to kind of keep an eye on things if we go to one workshop, and make sure that even if we're getting the public business done more efficiently, it isn’t at the expense of deliberating on things that maybe we need to think a little harder about," Cuff said.