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Council to discuss rules, sports tourism in workshop

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The Roswell City Council will meet Saturday for a workshop to discuss and review its rules of order and develop a plan to expand sports tourism. The items are for discussion only; no action will be taken.

The workshop will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Meeting Room A of the Roswell Convention & Civic Center, 912 N. Main St.

The workshop will be livestreamed on the city’s YouTube channel and through virtual software GoToMeeting.

To join the meeting through GoToMeeting on computer, smartphone or tablet, go to https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/815060573. To join by phone, call 669-224-3412 and use access code 815-060-573.

The City Council established its first-ever Governing Body Rules of Order in 2016 in a process that took several months. The rules of order, contained in Resolution 16-58, outline operations and procedures to be followed by the City Council and the mayor.

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City Manager Joe Neeb said in an email the council was to have a workshop on the rules of order in the spring, but decided instead to focus on the city budget after the downturn of the oil and gas industry and the pandemic.

“The intent of the rules of order (discussion) is to have all of the elected leadership involved in discussing what everyone likes about our current processes and what everyone doesn’t like,” Neeb said.

Councilor Juan Oropesa is one who has recently expressed what he doesn’t like about the council’s committee system and he said Wednesday he hopes the workshop’s discussion will include his concerns.

Under city code, City Council members are each appointed by the mayor to two of five standing committees — Infrastructure, Legal, Finance, Public Safety and General Services. The committees vet proposals, ordinances and requests from departments, commissions and boards. If the committee votes to approve the item, it moves forward to the full City Council’s monthly agenda.

A committee can vote to place an item on the full council’s regular agenda — where the council will hear a presentation, possibly discuss and vote on the individual item — or to the consent agenda, which is intended for routine, non-controversial items that require action but need little or no deliberation, according to the rules of order.

Oropesa has questioned if the council is following its own rules in recent months after an item not approved by the General Services Committee was brought up before the Finance Committee. Oropesa is Vice Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the General Services Committee.

In September, General Services voted 2-2 on a proposed resolution containing new fee schedules for the Recreation Department.

“It was my understanding at that time that that issue was going to go to full council even with a 2-2 vote because we have done that in the past,” Oropesa said. The tie vote would mean it would not receive a recommendation from the council.

The proposal then went to the Finance Committee on Oct. 1, where it was approved 4-0.

A similar occurrence happened with proposed admission fees for the Spring River Zoo. That proposed resolution was rejected by the General Services Committee 2-1 in October, but was put on the agenda for Finance Committee this month.

The City Council’s rules of order address the operations of the standing committees, stating the committee chair establishes the agenda, but the mayor or two members of the council can place an item on the agenda for any committee.

“I just started thinking, what in the world is the purpose of a committee if it’s going to go to another committee or if it’s going to go to council anyway?” Oropesa said.

“If you’re not going to honor the decision of the committee overall and you decide you’re not going to take it to another committee or you’re going to take it straight to council, then I don’t want to waste my time discussing it because I can do that at the council level anyway,” he said.

“My hope is that’s the direction that we go, that we look at and come up with some resolution, because if we continue doing the same thing, like I said, I am not going to committee meetings if I can have the same impact at council,” he said.

Neeb said if there is a consensus from Saturday’s workshop that the rules of order need changes, amendments will be brought to the Legal Committee.

The other item on Saturday’s workshop agenda is an extension of past discussions on sports tourism by the City Council, Neeb said.

“The City Council discussed at their last retreat, almost two years ago, that the city of Roswell has all of the components — hotels, restaurants, fields, courts, great weather and auxiliary services to become a destination for sports tourism,” Neeb said.

The discussion Saturday will focus on developing a comprehensive strategy for a year-round effort to expand sports tourism, he said.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.