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City may broadcast meetings
Mayor Jim Thomas - photo by Courier file photo
If constituents cannot come to the meetings, Mayor Jim Thomas thinks the city should put forth the effort to somehow bring the meetings to them.
“I think it’s very important,” Thomas said. “We want to be transparent so they can see what we’re doing.”
So officials decided at a planning workshop a couple weeks ago to explore ways the broadcast meetings by Dec. 1.
A television broadcast is ideal, Thomas said, but if not possible, a streaming video uploaded online will be the alternative.  
The mayor and council are currently reviewing companies to help with the TV broadcasting.
The county seat currently holds its council meetings the first and third Thursdays of the month at 1 p.m. while surrounding municipalities and county organizations meet in the evenings or toward the end of the workday.  
Thomas said a time change is not in the future, but was considered before he became mayor.
“Basically, that was the policy that was done by city council...and never changed it because people prefer it,” he said.
Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier can understand why some residents would want the meeting time changed, but said public participation would be about the same.
“In fact, I proposed that we have the meetings in the evenings,” Frasier said. “When I got elected 20 years ago, that was one of the concerns.”
He said the meetings used to be at 2 p.m., then moved to 6 p.m. to increase attendance.
“We tried the evening meetings as well and we still had the same kind of participation,” Frasier said.
“I just don’t think that (a time change to evening) is going to get much more than what we’re getting now.”
Councilmembers also often have to make arrangements in work schedules to make meetings, according to Frasier, but the midday time is conducive for those who work with the city.  
“When we talk about people doing business with the city, they would prefer it being at 1 p.m., I think,” he said.
Frasier encourages residents to become informed and sees the upcoming broadcast providing a person the same opportunity, without having to sit in the meetings.
“I don’t know if they will participate any more,” he said. “I think they just want to know about it and I do agree. I think they need to be more informed.”
Anyone wishing to participate in council meetings needs to be included on the agenda and is required to submit a written request to at least a week before the meeting.
The letter should specify why you want to speak and what meeting you will attend. The letter should be addressed to City Manager Billy Edwards or the mayor and council.
Agendas are also available by noon the day before meetings on the city’s website at
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