Lake Forest's City Council meetings likely will soon be starting an hour earlier.
With aldermen saying they felt time was wasted if a meeting that preceded the council session — such as committee of the whole or finance committee — wrapped up quickly, officials decided it would be more efficient to include everything into one ongoing agenda.
"I certainly understand the benefit of sometimes discussing something in a workshop-type setting before formal action is taken, but we do that at City Council meetings all the time," said Ald. Catherine Waldeck, 1st. "We have items that are up for discussion only, so we don't necessarily need to have, my thought is, a separate meeting to do that."
Instead of holding the first meeting of the night at 6:30 p.m. and setting the council session time an hour later at 7:30 p.m., both will be heard in a single sitting at the earlier start time.
Ald. Jack Reisenberg, 3rd, said committee-of-the-whole or finance meetings would sometimes wrap up in 15 minutes, and then there would be a big gap until the normal meeting at 7:30 p.m.
"Keep in mind, we're broadcasting and televising these," City Manager Bob Kiely said. "So we'll just run right into the next meeting, then the meeting gets over when it gets over."
Aldermen seemed to unanimously support the plan.
Kiely said the item would be on the council's next agenda on June 2 for official approval.
While officials expressed some concern over whether residents would be able to make it to the earlier meetings, they suggested putting any hot-button items toward the middle or end of the schedule to give people time to show up.
"If you want to talk traditions, the City Council used to meet Saturday mornings, and got away from that tradition, so I think the community will adjust," Kiely said.
"There are some that meet during the day," such as the County Board, he added.
"It seems that when there is a hot topic, the people manage to come out," said Ald. Michael Adelman, 4th.
Officials also discussed the possibility of maintaining two separate meetings with different agendas and just holding them subsequently, but seemed to agree that a single meeting was the best option.
Kiely said people who are interested in coming to the meetings often view Lake Forest's website to check times and topics to be discussed. He said the city would publicize the decision to let residents know about the impending change.