Council adopts ordinance reducing meeting frequency

ABERDEEN, S.D. (By Elisa Sand – The Aberdeen City Council will meet three times a month once a new ordinance takes effect.

The council adopted an ordinance during Monday’s regular meeting, setting the council meetings on the first, third and fourth Mondays of the month.

The new schedule came following a work session where City Manager Joe Gaa proposed a reduction in meetings each month to give staff additional time. His initial proposal was twice a month, which would be similar to most city council or city commission schedules in the state.

The council will continue to meet at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chambers in the Municipal Building, 123 S. Lincoln St.

Members of the council expressed concern about the twice-a-month schedule, as the board didn’t want to cause a delay in zoning requests that come before the board, like rezoning requests, which comes to the council in the form of an ordinance and require two hearings before the board.

Not all members of the council favored the new schedule. Councilwoman Tiffany Langer and Councilmen Rob Ronayne and Clint Rux voted against the measure.

Ronayne was the sole vote in opposition last week. While the council has come to a consensus about the new schedule, Ronayne said, he’s not in favor of it.

“It’s my job to be here and vote on things as they come up,” he said.

Rux, who suggested the idea of meeting three times a month, also said he would be voting against the ordinance.

“We are here to do the people’s business,” Rux said. “If we do that every week, that’s fine with me.”

Rux said meeting three times a week is better than twice, but it’s not the same as a weekly schedule.

The new ordinance will be in effect nov. 12, unless a petition is filed challenging the ordinance. City Attorney Ron Wager said based on the effective date, the board will not meet on Nov. 30. Starting in December, the board will meet the first, third and fourth Mondays. If there’s a holiday on a Monday, the council meets Tuesday.

In addition to the new meeting schedule, the ordinance also removes references to the adoption of Roberts Rules of Order. City Attorney Ron Wager recently introduced a City Council book that identifies other clear rules of procedure that would be used instead.

Another provision in the proposed ordinance allows the board to meet via teleconference, although public access to the meeting must be maintained, including the ability for residents to participate.