continued “Sometimes talk expands to fill the time,” he said.
Councilman George Lenhardt also said he’s flexible about changing the time again, but said in a later interview it still may not help.
“I don’t agree that they (the public) are leaving early. They are leaving when their tolerance level has reached its limit. Starting earlier may just move back the time they leave by an hour and not accomplish anything more than what we currently accomplish,” said Lenhardt. “It may just mean the meetings last longer.”
Councilwoman Joann Dawson was not at the meeting but said later that she was also open to discussing the time change.
“Thought having them at 7 p.m. would mean more people could attend, but coincidently, the meetings are now online so people can watch them online,” she said. “There’s really been no change in the people who regularly attend meetings, and because we go so late, people aren’t staying so that’s worth discussion.”
Clarkson said although having the meetings online is a helpful tool; the town wants people to still attend the meetings so they can participate in how the town is run.
“Being at the meetings allows you to ask questions,” he said.
Kotary said the number of items being placed on meeting agendas has become an issue. He said residents are beginning to feel like a lot of the more weighty issues are being discussed when no one is in the room.
“What I’d like to find out is … I’d like to see some data on how many people are watching at home online or going back to watch (after they leave),” he said, because some may feel the length is not an issue because people can watch from home.
Jeff Dammeyer, the town’s Director of Management of Information Services, said 70 people watched the May 23 meeting live online, and there have been 129 page views of the video from that meeting as of Wednesday, May 31. He said people should also keep in mind that residents can watch the meetings live on public access as well, so the number of people watching from home could be much greater.