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Lathrop may slash number of meetings

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POSTED November 24, 2017 12:59 a.m.

Could the Lathrop Planning Commission be the next governing body to cut their monthly meeting dates in half?

Currently standing rules adopted by the commission in 2007 call for bi-monthly meetings on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month. 

But since Jan. 1 of this year, a total 14 meetings have been canceled due to a lack of timely business, prompting the body to consider making the same move that the Lathrop City Council – whom they advise on large planning projects and municipal code changes, among other things – made last month when they agreed to condense their business into a single monthly meeting. 

Earlier this month the city canceled both November meetings due to a lack of agenda items, but ended up calling for a special meeting on Nov. 29 to address pending changes to California law regarding marijuana sales that are set to go into effect after Jan. 1, 2018. 

The commission will decide whether to curtail their meeting dates at that special meeting, which, like the council decision, wouldn’t take effect until the beginning of next year. Rather than selecting one of the two previously scheduled weeks as the standalone, city staff is recommending that the commission split the difference and conduct their business on the third Wednesday of the month – with the first meeting, if approved, scheduled for Jan. 17, 2018. 

While budgeting wasn’t mentioned specifically in the staff report as a reason for considering the change, the city does have to pay employees for time they spend preparing for, and attending, evening meetings. Whether it is cost effective for the city to send money preparing items – reports, which require research and multiple levels of approval and editing before they’re ready to be placed on the agenda – only for it to be pulled at the last minute will be a decision that the commission will have to make. 

According to Lathrop’s municipal code charter, the move to monthly meetings is well within Lathrop’s legal rights just as long as the commission schedules one meeting every month that is set concretely by resolution.

With the exception of weeks that are affected by holidays and late-starting weeks where a Wednesday comes before a Monday on the calendar – which will happen three times in 2018 –the meetings of the council and the planning commission will not all on the same week. 

 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544. 


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