(KCPW News) It’s been about four months since the Salt Lake City Council began a new policy that gives members more time to deliberate on issues before casting a vote. Council Chairman Carlton Christensen says he anticipates the council will keep it in place after its year-long trial period expires.
“You know, I think it’s been, overall, I would say it’s successful,” Christensen says. “And I don’t see us going back to a decision immediately after on, particularly, controversial issues.”
Under the new policy, if there’s been public comment at one meeting, the city council now waits until the next meeting, at least seven days later, to actually vote on the issue. But Christensen says the new policy does allow for non-controversial decisions to be made the same day as the public hearing.
Public response to the new policy has been limited, but so far it’s garnered mixed reviews. Christensen says some are concerned it will slow down the public process, while others applaud the city council for not making a decision before listening to constituents.
“You know the down side to it is those that have come to make comment, they have to tune in next week to find out what the decision is,” Christensen says. “I think the flip side to that is that we’ve taken what you’ve said and we’re looking at all the issues and trying to find the answer that best meets the need of the community.”
Christensen says the new policy has already improved the council’s decision making. He said it was helpful when deliberating whether to approve the contested expansion plans for a Liberty Wells senior care facility, Christus St. Joseph Villa. The council eventually sided with concerned neighbors to halt the facility’s expansion.