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Council Meetings Take New Shape in 2024

First Committee of the Whole of New Year to focus on Draft Budget

A decision was made at the final regular meeting of Council for 2023 to alter the format and frequency of Council meetings for 2024. Staff brought forward three possible options, and recommended that Council meetings be reduced from two each month to one, to be supplemented by two Committee of the Whole (COW) meetings.

As noted in the December 5 meeting agenda package, COW meetings and Council meetings serve distinct purposes within the framework of local government. Council meetings are considered the final step in the decision-making process, where legally binding actions are taken, ensuring transparency, accountability, and public engagement. COW meetings allow for exploration of issues and consensus building, which can lead to more efficient Council meetings.

After much discussion, Council settled on another of the options brought forward by staff, opting for a single Council meeting and a single COW meeting each month, with an option for a second committee meeting should one become necessary. In theory, this should mean that any contentious issues can be hashed out in COW meetings, clearing the way for speedier and more efficient regular Council meetings. Time will tell if this actually plays out.

January 9 marks the first COW meeting of the new year. This evening's agenda is 48 pages long, almost all of which is taken up with a draft 2024 budget. Follow The Watershed as we cover Council discussions and decisions as they happen.

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It would be wonderful if this new approach to governance resulted in matters actually getting accomplished this year.! Best wishes for a happy and harmonious 2024 to all.

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