PAHOKEE – The City of Pahokee may again place a cutoff time on city commission meetings.
At their Oct. 25 meeting, commissioners considered an ordinance that would make changes to the rules for city commission meetings.
Commissioner Sara Perez complained the ordinance requires a majority of commissioners agree to place an item on the agenda for discussion.
"One of the concerns that I have is on the agenda, you have to have the majority (of commissioners) in order to place something on the agenda,” said Perez.
“To me that is not democracy,” she said. “I think any one of us should be able to place an item on the agenda.”
The ordinance also states that meetings will start at 6 p.m. end no later than 9 p.m. That issue has been controversial in the past. A similar time limit on meetings was passed in a 2019 ordinance. When that rule was in place, some city commissioners and residents complained the time limit made it difficult to get city business done because a long debate over one item may run out the clock. This meant items on the bottom of the agenda were delayed until the next meeting. In 2021, the city council rescinded that ordinance, removing the time limit on meetings.
The ordinance also states citizen comment cards must be turned in no later than 6:05 p.m. Mayor Keith Babb said they might want to give the public a little more leeway since meetings don’t always start at 6 p.m. if commissioners are late.
The ordinance passed 3-2 on first reading. Mayor Babb, Commissioner Clara “Tasha” Murvin and Commissioner Derrick Boldin voted for the ordinance. Commissioners Juan Gonzalez and Perez were opposed. The ordinance requires a second reading before it becomes law.