The Taos Town Council voted Tuesday (Oct. 23) to do away with its quarterly Citizens' Forum for lack of attendance.
The council passed an amendment to its Open Meeting Resolution in order to eliminate the forums, in which members of the public could address the governing body about a variety of concerns. The council would not take action at the forums, but they provided, according to a previous council resolution, "a regular venue, not limited by an agenda, where constituents (could) present different ideas, air grievances and otherwise interact with their mayor and/or council and contribute to the operations of their town."
Apparently attendance has been light at the Citizens' Forums - especially since the council changed its meetings time from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. this spring. Soon after councilors Fred Peralta and Andrew Gonzales took their seats on the council in March, the council voted 3-1 to move the time in the hope that more working people would be able to attend evening meetings than those held in the afternoons. The time change also put council meetings in direct conflict with meetings of the Taos Municipal School Board, which begin at 5:30 p.m.
According to Tuesday's agenda, "The Quarterly Citizens' Forums will no longer be held due to the significant decrease in attendees since changing the time of the Council meetings from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m."
Town Manager Oscar Rodríguez said no one showed up for the last couple of forums. He said the council hasn't discussed changing the time of the meetings back to 1:30.