HUDSON —Full zoom council meetings will be coming to an end in July, but the format will still be available on a smaller basis for public hearings and internal staff use.
The city had switched to the virtual format when COVID-19 first hit the area.
City Administrator recommended keeping the format as an option for staff as well as consultants, who the city pays to drive to and sit through meetings.
The council could decide if they wanted to keep it public, Reeves said. Doing so would require staff time to monitor the Zoom portion of the meetings and ensure there aren’t any interruptions, as a public link is accessible by anyone and open to “Zoom bombing.”
Council Member Randy Morrissette said he supported a thin optional for vendors and council people, but only wanted it open for public hearings. People should take the personal responsibility to come down to city hall if they want to get involved, he said.
Council Member Sarah Bruch said several people have told her they appreciate the ability to use Zoom to public comment. Reeves said citizens do still have the option of sending public comment through email if they are not in person.
Council Member Jim Webber said the city should give people as much opportunity and make it as easy as possible to interact as possible, and physically standing in front of the council is a lot less comfortable.
Bruch said she would like to see it at least phased out. Deziel suggested giving a month, with the change beginning in July.
The motion was approved 3-2, with Bruch and Webber voting no. Council Member Joyce Hall was absent.
Meetings will still be streamed and recorded by River Channel.
In other business, the city of Hudson is moving forward on developing a diversity committee.
The concept was first proposed back in February by Council Member Paul Deziel, who said he wanted to ensure government represents all people.
On Monday, Deziel presented a draft charter for the committee. He said the draft served as a starting point, and wanted to hear feedback and continue to develop it.
“As we think about our city continuing to grow and our city continuing to grow in diversity, I see this as a long-term asset,” Deziel said.
The mission of the committee would be to ensure the city is an open, inclusive and diverse place, Deziel said.
Other cities have created similar diversity committees or are expanding on existing human rights commissions.
Council Member Randy Morrissette asked to see any comparable Wisconsin cities.
City Administrator Aaron Reeves the usual steps are to break into a smaller subgroup to work through the details. He suggested creating a subcommittee made up of Deziel and Council Members Bill Alms and Joyce Hall, who volunteered to work on the concept at the last council meeting. They will then bring it back to the full council to discuss something more concrete.
Reeves said he will be attending a training for city staff on this topic later this month, and wants to wait until after that so he can offer the best input.