Tuesday’s Pahrump Town Board meeting may turn out to be a marathon session again.
With more than 20 agenda items, the meeting will begin three hours before its regularly scheduled time of 7 p.m.
The earlier start time just might be a “trial balloon” to gauge the public’s interest on whether they would prefer to have the meetings begin earlier in the day.
As evidence, the board will actually consider approving a permanent change to Town Board meeting hours effective early next year if approved.
Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said after speaking with local residents, she believes that there is some interest, especially among the community’s elderly population about starting the meetings earlier in the day.
“I’ve actually heard from some people who say they are less inclined to drive a lot at night when it’s dark and that is also a big consideration. If the town were in favor, I would like to see us move the meeting to 5:30 p.m., or at a minimum at least move them to 6 p.m. That just means that hopefully all of us can get out and get the business done and get a good night’s sleep. When meetings run that late, it can be a challenge,” she said.
The town manager referenced a meeting earlier this year which ran for more than four hours.
Once the meeting adjourned just after 11:00 p.m., there were less than six attendees in the audience.
Holecheck and town staff were back to work the following morning at 7 a.m.
Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said on the matter this week that “opinions vary” on the issue.
“Some people say they want the meetings to start earlier while others say they don’t want to see the start time change. Personally, it really doesn’t matter to me. I don’t know who put that agenda item on but it can be an inconvenience for some and it could be a benefit for others to have it changed. We just have to weigh the pros and cons and I am waiting to hear the rationale for wanting to change it,” he said.
Dolan also said he completely understands why next Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 4 p.m.
“That was done because it’s a very long agenda. I haven’t seen the entire agenda, but I know what I put on there. I saw the draft and it was long but not that long,” he said.
Holecheck, meanwhile, who authored the time-change agenda item, said at present all town board meetings can be viewed online without having to drive after dark to the meeting chambers.
“With the advent of Granicus and fewer people in attendance, the town board meetings can start earlier. Granicus online allows people to watch the meeting from home at their leisure. Staff would recommend changing the time from the current 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. or at a minimum 6 p.m.,” she said.
Holecheck said additional costs associated with paying staff overtime during the meetings was a big consideration in her decision to put the item forth.
“I think it’s something for us to think about. Being aware of taxpayer funds, we are paying overtime for some staff to be there and that is one concern,” she said.
In other town business, the board will consider approving a Request For Proposal (RFP) to replace four monitor defibrillators and two semi-automatic defibrillators at a cost not to exceed $110,000.
Board members will also discuss whether to approve a conceptual plan to proceed with engineering services for Kellogg Park on the south end of town.