Holidays change Chester Council schedule

CHESTER — Chester City Council will be reverting back to one regular public meeting a month, but only temporarily.

During Monday’s meeting, council approved a motion to hold one regular meeting as opposed to two each month — on a three-month trial during November, December and January.

Prior to Monday, council met in regular session twice a month on the first and third Mondays.

Councilman Mike Dotson made the recommendation, noting holidays will be falling on Mondays in the coming months, including January and February, when the second meeting of the month would be held.

“We could always schedule an emergency meeting or a finance meeting, so that we ca have a little bit of time to analyze if we had seen at that meeting about something,” Dotson said.

Mayor Larry Forsythe suggested holding the meetings to the first Monday of the month and then revisit the one-meeting-a-month policy at the start of the new year.

City Clerk Marlene Fleming reminded council that per the city’s charter, council was required to hold at least one meeting a month.

Solicitor April Raines said she was told of the suggestion, and recommended the trial basis.

“I was asked about this and my thought was we can see how it goes and if it works out, then, say first meeting in February, I can get an ordinance ready to amend this so that the right date can be used,” she said.

Fire chief John Hissam said with only one meeting, a financial issue may arise.

“Council used to meet once a month, but the vendors complained about not getting paid on time,” Hissam said. “Better check on that because some of them required you to pay a certain time of the month. You’ll be paying all kinds of late charges.”

Fleming said council could approve bills paid at the next meeting.

After discussion, the motion was approved with a 4-0 vote, with councilman Ed Beaumont absent due to illness.

As a result of the temporary change, the next council meeting will be held Dec. 4. The start times for the meetings under the trial-basis policy will remain the same at 5 p.m.