Atwater Considers Combining Commissions and Reducing City Council Meetings to One Per Month

The City of Atwater may soon cut its city council meetings down to once a month, at least temporarily.

On Monday, the city council approved a first reading of an ordinance which would do just that. The ordinance would also combine three city commissions (Parks and Recreation, Planning, and Traffic) into a single “super” commission.

Monday’s vote was 3 to 2 with Council Members Joe and Jeff Rivero voting against the proposal.

“The citizens of Atwater are having less opportunities to have their voices heard,” Rivero said, likening the idea to that of a “dictatorship.”

Jim Murphy, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, also expressed outrage. His sentiments were echoed by Planning Commissioner Fred Warchol who called the plan a “slap in the face.”

Proponents of the ordinance, however, say it could save the city $21,000 in staffing expenses, noting that the city is badly in need of cash. Since 2008, Atwater has cut its workforce by 42 percent, reducing the number of positions from 134 to 78 with furloughs every Friday.

A second reading and possible adoption of the ordinance will take place on August 26. If passed, it will take 30 days to go into effect. According to City Manager Frank Pietro, the monthly meeting reduction would only be temporary until April 30, 2015.

Read more about the proposed ordinance here.



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