City Council still trying to figure out how to avoid marathon meetings |

City Council still trying to figure out how to avoid marathon meetings

The Steamboat Springs City Council appeared groggy on Tuesday night as midnight approached in Citizens Hall.
Scott Franz

— The Steamboat Springs City Council’s quest to avoid becoming a regular late night television program remains a work in progress.

Councilwoman Robin Crossan on Tuesday noted the council recently had a second fatigue-inducing, marathon meeting that adjourned just before midnight.

At that Aug. 23 meeting, the council had to debate whether to carry on past 10 p.m. and make an important decision about the expenditure of $400,000 on public improvements at the Iron Horse Inn.

Despite misgivings from some council members, including Crossan, the council trudged on and ended up finishing the meeting at 11:34 p.m.

In the wake of that meeting, Crossan on Tuesday started a dialogue about how the council could better manage time and avoid making decisions late into the night.

“We get off on tangents, and it’s very, very difficult to get back (on track),” she said. “Some of our conversations are very warranted. Others we struggle around in circles, and we don’t get anywhere with it.”

Several council members have proclaimed they don’t make the best decisions after 10 p.m.

Council members have also partially blamed some of their more controversial and criticized decisions, such as calling dibs on free summer concert tickets and VIP passes, on the fact that they were made in a hurry late in the evening.

The current council has been meeting more frequently than previous councils with the addition of regular work sessions on larger topics, such as the future of Howelsen Hill.

An influx of planning proposals, and the public comment associated with them, has also increased the length of some meetings.

Council members also noted members of the public often have to wait several hours in Citizens Hall for items, and they have a hard time gauging when their item will be heard.

“I do think we need to try to focus on hitting (10 p.m.) as a target,” Councilman Jason Lacy said.

Councilwoman Heather Sloop raised the idea of starting some meetings earlier than 5 p.m.

“We need to be realistic more with what our timeframes are,” she said.

Several council members appeared agreeable to having the city and the council craft agendas that are expected to last no longer than four hours, with an hour and a half of wiggle room.

“Trimming the agenda is a goal because we can be more productive,” Council President Walter Magill said.

The council has been discussing ways to shorten meetings since February, when one council meeting went past midnight.

Comcast’s television guide often doesn’t anticipate the council’s meetings to last past 9 p.m.

On occasion, when the council programming extends into the late night hours, television viewers at home, who hit the info button on Channel 6, see the council meeting incorrectly labeled as “Muppets Tonight.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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