The monthly business meeting of the Greensboro City Council begins Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber.
The agenda states that the meeting starts at 4 p.m. All the announcements state the meeting starts at 4 p.m. But in truth, the Oct. 17 City Council meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. for everyone except the members of the City Council, the city attorney and city manager.
At 4 p.m., Mayor Nancy Vaughan and at least four councilmembers will call the meeting to order, a motion will be made to go into closed session and, if there is anybody other than city staff in the chamber, Vaughan may inform them that the City Council will reconvene in the chamber at 5:30 p.m.
It may sound strange, but it actually works out well. If the City Council started the public portion of the meeting as soon as the closed session was over, then people with items on the agenda would have to be there at 4 p.m., because sometimes closed sessions only last 10 or 15 minutes while some drag on for hours. If the closed session drags on then the beginning of the public portion of the meeting is delayed, but since the meeting officially began when the closed session started, officially it doesn’t matter.
There is no public forum at the monthly business meeting, so there shouldn’t be any microphone slapping or chanting, which results in people being removed from the chamber by security and then being banned from personally attending City Council meetings for three months.
Although people do get heated during rezoning request public hearings, they generally behave like adults at a public meeting, which means no one gets asked to leave.
There are three public hearings for annexation and original zoning requests. All the requests are for under an acre and were passed unanimously by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
There is also a public hearing on the $318,541 2023 Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to the Greensboro Police Department. Of that grant Greensboro receives $186,223, Guilford County receives $79,326 and High Point receives $52,922.
This regular grant from the US Department of Justice to local law enforcement agencies became controversial when the Greensboro City Council voted to turn down the money in 2020. As a result, the High Point Police Department and the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office got to split the amount of money intended for the Greensboro Police Department.
However, since that costly mistake in 2020, the Greensboro City Council has accepted these grants without controversy.