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Council hopes to end meetings earlier

Evanston aldermen voted Monday to rearrange their meeting schedule in hopes of being able to end City Council sessions at an earlier hour. The new plan will mean some changes for residents who plan to speak at council meetings.

Evanston aldermen voted Monday to rearrange their meeting schedule in hopes of being able to end City Council sessions at an earlier hour. The new plan will mean some changes for residents who plan to speak at council meetings.

Under the new schedule, which the council plans to implement on a test basis at its Monday, Feb. 8, meeting, the Administration and Public Works Committee will meet as it now does at 5:30 p.m.

But the Planning and Development Committee, instead of having a fixed start time of 7 p.m., will meet 15 minutes after the end of the A&PW meeting.

And the full City Council, instead of having a fixed start time of 8:30 p.m., will meet either at 7 p.m. or 15 minutes after the P&D meeting ends, whichever is later.

The aldermen say their intent is to always be able to start the full council meeting by 7:30 p.m. — an hour sooner than it is now scheduled to get underway.

That means residents who want to speak during the council’s public comment session, which now tends to start anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour after 8:30 p.m., will need to arrive at the Civic Center by 7 p.m. to be sure of being on time for their moment before the cable TV cameras.

Agendas for both committees have been relatively light in recent months — especially for the planning committee, given the slowdown in the real estate market. That’s left aldermen with long gaps with nothing to do between meetings.

The aldermen said at Monday’s Rules Committee meeting that they plan to test the new schedule over the next couple of months and review how it works out when the Rules Committee holds its April meeting.

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