JEFFERSON — After four months, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners are ready to review their decision to have one of their two monthly meetings in the evening.
At their morning meeting Monday, Oct. 21, Commissioner William Sands began the discussion to vote on the schedule reversion. Sands said the effects of getting more people in attendance had not been at the level the board had hoped for, while the time of the meetings was added strain on county employees.
“We’ve tried it before and it’s never really been that successful,” Sands said. “Without a doubt, the attendance is driven by the agenda. I’ve seen this place filled up with standing-room only mornings and evenings.”
Sands noted that in the four evening meetings so far, the attendance increase has only been a few extra people per meeting. He added that the extra hours and comp time for county employees who already have to work a full day before the meeting is not beneficial to anyone.
Commissioner Larry Rhodes agreed with Sands, also noting that as winter approaches, the weather conditions can add to the problems with the evening meetings.
Chairman Todd McNeill spoke about his disappointment in the lack of attendees at the board’s last evening meeting Monday, Oct. 7. McNeill said the hope was for more people to be able to come since the meeting times do not conflict with a traditional job schedule, but that has not been the case.
The board voted 3-2 in favor of the scheduling change March 4, with the first evening meeting taking place July 1. Ashe Post & Times previously reported Sands and Rhodes voted against the change, at the time citing cost-savings and lack of attendance at past evening meetings.
The decision could not be made and implemented immediately, requiring a public hearing on the matter first. The board voted 3-2 in favor of holding a public hearing regarding the matter at their next meeting, after which the board will make the final vote on if the meeting times will change. McNeill and Commissioner Larry Dix voted against the move.
The board’s next meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Ashe County Courthouse.