In Winston-Salem, city council meetings will run a bit differently next year.
On Monday night, city councilmembers adopted next year’s calendar in which City Manager Pat Pate said that this new schedule will “provide a better flow for the agenda process.”
Meetings won’t be designated as zoning or general government meetings anymore, the way these meetings have previously been ordained. Currently, zoning meetings are held on the first Monday of the month, followed by committee meetings on the second Monday and Tuesday, while general government meetings are held on the third Monday. Many of the items that are discussed during the committee meetings go on to be placed on the general government meeting agenda, where they are officially approved or denied by councilmembers. After the council makes their decisions, a public comment period is held. The city is required to hold at least one public comment period per month.
Right now, council votes on zoning items early in the month and general government items later on.
“For the most part, it will flip those,” Pate said, so that general government meetings will be held first and zoning meetings will be held last.
Pate said that they are dropping the designations for each of the two meetings in order to provide “opportunities for public comments before the committee items come to council.”
This will also “provide flexibility in meeting outside application deadlines so that we can have items on the agenda as quickly as possible,” Pate said.
Pate said that in general, this change means that during the first council meeting of the month — on the first Monday of the month — they’ll vote on general government items. Committee meetings will continue to be scheduled on the second Monday and Tuesday of every month. However, during the second council meeting — the third Monday of the month — they will vote on zoning items as well as hold a public comment period.
This gives the public a chance to comment on committee items before they go on the next month’s agenda, Pate said, adding that this new schedule will give city staff time to respond to concerns or questions from the council and community that may come up before those meetings.
According to the city’s website, there will only be one city council meeting this month. Monday night had a public comment period scheduled, but no one spoke that evening.
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