LONG BEACH — Long Beach councilors recently held a workshop on council rules and procedures. Public officials are able to participate in public meetings via phone or video conference call, as a result of a March 2017 decision by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.
If an individual or entire governing body participates in a meeting electronically, the meeting must be observable in a physical space that’s accessible by the public.
Councilors aren’t allowed to miss more than three meetings without being excused, City Administrator David Glasson said. The council holds at least 24 meetings in a year, as well as council workshops.
“There’s only a few times we haven’t had a quorum,” Mayor Jerry Phillips said. “Being able to use this would help us pay the bills on time.”
Most councilors agreed participating in meetings electronically should be limited to three meetings per year. Councilor Del Murry argued that the practice shouldn’t be allowed.
“I’m totally against it. In the eight years I’ve been here I haven’t seen it get down to two [people],” Murry said. “We’re in a small town. There’s nothing so pressing for this.”
The council wouldn’t be the first to adopt the practice on the Peninsula. Ocean Beach School District, the Surfside Homeowners Association and the Joint Pacific County Housing Authority are all organizations which already allow members to participate in meetings by phone or video.
“I think we have enough council members who travel. It would be advantageous to be able to call in from their hotel,” Councilor Holli Kemmer said. “At least having the option would be good.”
While councilors would be able to participate in meetings electronically, they wouldn’t be required to do so, Glasson said.
“If it becomes a hassle and you guys don’t like it, we’ll stop doing it,” Glasson said.
Culbertson Park: Councilors received an update on the park from Glasson and Community Development Director Ariel Smith. The city is working to make Culbertson Park ADA accessible through improvements such as ramps and repavement of areas. The council will hold a later workshop on the park to learn about the city’s options for moving forward with the project.
Discovery Trail: A meeting focusing on the feasibility of extending the Lewis and Clark Discovery Trail north and east on the Peninsula was recently held, Glasson said. The trail would connect to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge’s new headquarters location.
Big Garbage Day: Big Garbage Day will be held the second half of May instead of Memorial Day Weekend, Glasson said. The program allows residents to rid of larger trash items, such as furniture. Last year, the city filled 17 dumpsters, Glasson said.
Code enforcement: The city is focusing on taking care of problem properties within city limits, Glasson said.