Motion sparks talk about format

A motion put forward in a Grand Forks city councillor’s report sparked discussion on how to streamline and expedite the meeting process.

How Grand Forks City Council voted at the Oct. 11 meeting.

Changes could be coming to the Grand Forks city council agendas after a motion put forward in a councillor’s report sparked discussion on how to streamline and expedite the meeting process.

At the council meeting on Oct. 11, three councillors submitted reports to the agenda. However, it was Councillor Bev Tripp’s report that sparked discussion on when and how councillors should provide notice of motion.

In her report, Tripp makes a motion that staff provide a report about events that took place in the city over the summer, how much was spent per event by the city, and the estimated revenue it brought into town.

“Therefore be it resolved that staff prepare a detailed report on these events, including how much they cost the city, with an estimation of revenue that was generated for the business community from these events, and staff will canvas organizers to receive suggestions for improving these events and provide a report to council at the next regular meeting,” read the motion.

Councillor Christine Thompson suggested that Tripp’s motion be pushed  to another meeting since “only four [members of council] are here.” Councillors Julia Butler, Neil Krog and Colleen Ross were away. Tripp noted that her motion will have “a couple” of amendments, although she did not specify what those will be.

The motion sparked a debate about how to most effectively allow councillors to introduce notices of motion, with Chief Administrative Officer Doug Allin noting that it could be an entirely separate agenda item in itself for expediency of the meeting.

“Within our agenda layout we could have an area for notice of motion. It is the second time this has happened where [a notice of motion] has been within a council report,” Allin said. “If we had on the agenda a notice of motion [section] it could be discussed at that point in the agenda to make it a little cleaner for council to just receive the reports and move on to the motions.”

However, Deputy Corporate Officer Sarah Winton said changing the procedural bylaw is more complicated than ammending normal bylaws, and would by a lengthy process including at least two weeks of “legislative advertising.”

Allin said the matter of changing the procedural bylaw to ammend the agenda format will be discussed at the next committee of the whole meeting when all councillors were present, but Councillor Chris Hammett also said she believed the discussion is one they had had before.

“When this notice of motion was put forward we decided that notices of motion would not be put in councillors reports, so we have already discussed this,” Hammett said.


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