By Trevor Busch
While more successful in an attempt to push the time of town council meetings to earlier in the day, Coun. Joe Strojwas was thwarted when he recently floated the same plan to the Taber Municipal Police Commission.
Annual meeting times and dates for the commission are set during the first meeting of the year, according to Sec. 2.13(1) of the Taber Municipal Police Commission Policy Manual. Strojwas, who serves as one of two town council representatives to the TMPC, advanced his preference at the commission’s Jan. 11 regular meeting.
“Just personally, I’d prefer a Wednesday over a Thursday, and I’d prefer earlier in the day,” said Strojwas.
Several commission representatives pointed out this would cause an undue hardship with regard to their employment responsibilities during regular business hours.
“I know for most, earlier in the day is tough,” said Chair Ken Holst.
In the wake of the Oct. 18 municipal election and following pressure from Strojwas and others on council in late 2017, the scheduled start time of council meetings was advanced to 3:30 p.m. following a unanimous resolution by town council at their Nov. 27 regular meeting.
Under the town’s original bylaw, meeting times were previously scheduled for 5 p.m., and had traditionally been held at that time in the past.
Town council meetings, as well as those of most boards and commissions, are usually held in the evening in smaller municipalities in the province in order to accommodate the schedule of elected officials and others who are often employed in occupations during regular daytime hours.
In neighbouring municipalities, most regular council meetings are also held in the evening, such as the Town of Vauxhall (6 p.m. start time), or Village of Barnwell (6 p.m. start time).
The notable exception is the M.D. of Taber, which holds council meetings during the day on Tuesdays (9 a.m. start time).
In late November 2016, former Mayor Henk DeVlieger had also forwarded the idea of changing town council meetings from their traditional 5 p.m. start to the early afternoon, but was unable to secure support from previous council when he called for a motion on the idea.
Prior to 2015, commission meetings were held on the third Wednesday of each month at 4:30 p.m.
Once decided, meeting schedules are posted to the Town of Taber’s website and advertised in The Taber Times.
Following discussion, the commission voted unanimously to set the schedule of regular meetings of the TMPC for 2018 to be the third Wednesday of each month, excepting July, August and December, at 4:30 p.m. in council chambers of the Administration Building.