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Town Board revises meeting dates, times: Aims to make sessions more accessible

Beginning in July and lasting for a six-month trial period, there will be changes in the Town Board meetings schedule. The idea is to make sessions more convenient for public participation. The decision to try a new schedule came at Tuesday’s Town Board work session.

The single meeting that will continue on a Friday afternoon is on July 1 at 4:30 p.m. because public hearings have already been advertised for that date. Following that meeting, all sessions — both work sessions and regular meetings — will move to Tuesdays, except for a couple of exceptions.

Work sessions will continue to be at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, except on days where there is a scheduled regular Town Board meeting at 6 p.m. that night. In that case, work sessions will start at 3 p.m. with the aim of completing work within two hours to provide a one-hour break between the afternoon and evening sessions. Issues discussed at the 3 p.m. work session won’t be addressed at the evening meeting.

The July schedule calls for the regular meeting on July 1; cancellation of the 1 p.m. work session on July 5; work sessions at 1 p.m. July 12 and 19; a work session at 3 p.m. on July 26; and a regular meeting at 6 p.m. that evening.

A full month-to-month breakdown of meetings through to the end of the year appears on the Town website.

There are a occasional departures from Tuesday meetings, such as the day after Labor Day, Election Day and around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

If the revised schedule works, it will continue into 2023. But if it poses problems, the Town Board could revert to the schedule that has been in effect for many years or revise it.

Two members of the Town Board — Councilman Jim Colligan and Councilwoman BJ Ianfolla — noted that in addition to the hours they meet for work sessions and regular meetings, they are liaisons to many committees and have other meetings that claim their time.

Both Board members said they’re not complaining, but the meeting changes are being made to try to accommodate the public. They believe that 4:30 p.m. on a Friday is inconvenient for many who are Island part-timers and even for those who live here full time but work until 5.

Moving the meetings to a slightly later time on a Tuesday, they hope will prove more convenient for many residents.

Another step members plan is to continue hybrid meetings so people can opt to attend meetings in person or via Zoom. Since the Zoom option was implemented in 2020 in response to the pandemic, there has been greater participation, Board members have said.

A public hearing on the hybrid issue will be held at the July 26 Town Board meeting at 6:20 p.m. If the Board concludes after the hearing that it can go ahead with authorizing continued video conferencing, it can vote to do so that night.

In the interim, the hybrid meetings will continue.