Last month the council voted 3-2 to change the hours of one of its two council meetings to 10 a.m. each month.
Traditionally, council meetings have always been held at 6 p.m.
“It’s always been at night,” said James McGowan, council president and longest serving member on the council. “It was like that in 1984 when I took office.”
In December, McGowan and Councilwomen Dot Wood and Sharon Thomas voted in favor of the time change, while Councilmen Jay Jenkins and Terry Templin voted against holding the meeting the second Monday of each month at 10 a.m.
Mayor Joe Funderburg does not have a vote in city matters but was in favor of the time change.
“This is an accommodation to work with the public, the way I see it,” Funderburg said, adding that it is more convenient for some people to attend a day-time meeting.
Jenkins and Templin said the meeting change could confuse people, and small store owners can’t close their doors to attend a morning meeting.
“People will wonder if this is the 6 p.m. or 10 a.m. meeting,” Jenkins said.
McGowan said the council will still hold its regularly scheduled meeting on the fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m.
“I think we probably will have people who couldn’t attend at night who will attend during the day,” McGowan said.
He said the main reason for having one of the council meetings during the day is to encourage more public participation, but he is uncertain if the city will see more people at the meetings.
“I don’t think it’s going to change anything a lot if it’s held during the day,” McGowan said.
He said the change will afford the public to either attend the morning or night meeting or both.
“We can always hold a special called meeting for any urgent matters,” McGowan said.
The council also holds a work session at 4 p.m. the Thursday before the second and fourth Monday council meetings each month.