Longer meetings, more meetings, more talk at Port Moody council?

Meetings of Port Moody council could soon look very different.

At its meeting Tuesday evening, council will consider a series of procedural amendments, including extending the time councillors can speak when introducing a motion to 10 minutes as well as the time for public input to 30 minutes before council must vote to extend that period by 15-minute increments. Councillors would also be able to add late items to the agenda with the consent of two-thirds of all members instead of the current requirement for unanimous approval.

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As well, provisions could be made to eventually allow one councillor at a time to participate and vote in meetings electronically, for up to four days per calendar year. Such participation is possible with the implementation last year of a $35,000 electronic meeting management system.

A new corporate policy to allow electronic participation by phone or video conferencing will also be considered by council at tonight’s meeting. A staff report recommends the former would be more cost-effective and timely as the latter would require “significant equipment purchase, setup and testing.”

Staff is also recommending further changes to council procedures. Those include: 

• a requirement for council to review the acting mayor schedule if the mayor or a councillor that is a part of that schedule is on an extended leave of absence;

• the ability for council to determine the acting mayor schedule by drawing lots;

• the ability for public delegations to be heard at other meetings besides committee of the whole as well as a potential limit on how many delegations can present at a meeting.

As well, staff is recommending public hearings can be held on days other than those when there is a regularly scheduled council meetings. The hearings would then be immediately followed by a special council meeting to consider the subject of the hearing. Public hearings would also be limited to three hours unless an extension is approved by all councillors at the hearing.

If the proposed amendments clear three readings, they could be adopted as soon as Jan. 28 and reflected in council agendas by Feb. 11.

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