Though commissioners have showed resistance to making a change, Port St. Joe residents keep bringing the subject of meeting times back to the podium.
Another meeting Tuesday and another resident wondered why commissioners do not consider moving their current meeting time, 12 p.m. ET the second and fourth Tuesdays, to a more accommodating hour for public participation.
Commissioner Scott Hoffman said again this week that while he is the most flexible with his time among the commissioners, he also would support a move.
The key for Hoffman would be found in crowd size.
“We should move it to a time that we would fill this room,” Hoffman said of the Commission’s Ward Ridge meeting room.
Hoffman has also proposed several times dividing the meetings; hold one at 12 p.m. or even the morning and the other each month at 6 p.m. ET.
Commissioners altered the meeting time for regular monthly meetings, which for decades was 6 p.m. ET, after Hurricane Michael.
In the initial days the meeting time represented a good opportunity for a daily briefing, commissioners maintained the noon meeting schedule at the request of Commissioner Eric Langston to allow him to fulfill his responsibilities as a youth basketball coach.
However, several residents have noted in recent weeks and months, the basketball season is long over.
“You kind of did this bait-and-switch and forgot to come back to the bait,” said resident Robert Branch.
Commissioner Brett Lowry said his concern was the additional hours, and overtime, returning to evening meetings would bring to already overworked city employees.
“It affects staff as well,” Lowry said.
Commissioner David Ashbrook wondered if they should put the question to voters to “see what people think” and commissioners agreed to place a survey question on Facebook when the city creates its own page in the coming weeks.
The city has been awarded, through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Northwest Florida Water Management District, a Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) grant of over $900,000 for stormwater improvements.
The grant will particularly focus on the Forest Park basin, which stretches between State 71 and Twentieth Street and includes the 10th Street Ball Park complex.
The grant includes funding stormwater master plan, engineering and construction.
The goal of the grant, said City Manager Jim Anderson, was to improve the quality of water flowing into St. Joseph Bay.
Due to the work on the bulkhead for Eastern Shipbuilding, the city will move its launch point for the Fourth of July fireworks from the former paper mill site across Marina Drive to Clifford Sims Park.