MONTICELLO — The requirement that the Monticello City Council have two readings of proposed ordinances at two separate meetings before taking a vote is gone.
Council members July 12 voted to eliminate second readings, which had been in place since April 2016, but not followed until the fall of 2017 when it was pointed out they had not been following the newly implemented rule.
Ideally, the first reading was in place to build a buffer zone between an ordinance being presented and formally voted on.
In reality, the council has used another portion of its meeting ordinance — waiving the second reading — a vast majority of the time, allowing ordinances to be voted on at the same meeting they first appear on the agenda.
City Administrator Terry Summers said that since 2017 the second reading has been waived all but five times.
He added the city meetings ordinance still allows council members to postpone a vote if they need more time to consider it.
“City council will still be able to table, to defer, to postpone and to reconsider as has been the practice prior to Resolution 2016-28,” Summers said.
Aldermen voted 7-1 to drop the two-reading mandate, with Alderman Mike Koon voting against the move.
“Even though as a council, we have routinely waved the second reading, it is good exercise to always stop and ask whether the public would benefit from two more weeks to learn and respond to an issue,” Koon said.
“Even though we now still have the option to table an ordinance, it is less likely this will happen since we aren’t procedurally forced to do consider it.”
There was never a two-reading requirement for resolutions, only for ordinances.
Most council members have gone along with the waiving of second readings. One exception was Jeremy Jones, a former Ward 1 alderman who routinely voted against waiving them for philosophical reasons. For example, in August 2017, he was the lone “no” vote 10 times in two meetings.
One complaint levied in 2017 was that the public did not have time to review ordinances if they were acted on at a single meeting. In recent years, the city has responded by releasing agendas earlier, usually on the Wednesday prior to the Monday night meetings.
Meeting agendas with attachments are available on the city website, www.cityofmontiello.net.
Monticello Fire Chief John Rupkey said Piatt County fire departments are planning a parade and program Sept. 11 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center bombings in New York that killed nearly 3,000 people.
“The first thing we want to do that morning is a ceremonial parade with all the fire departments and all the trucks through each town in Piatt County. We’ll get out and walk a little bit in each town,” Rupkey said.
“Then we want to meet back here, and at 12 o’clock we want to have a ceremony at the high school.”