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Wanted: Public input into Lake Ozark Comp Plan update: The City of Lake Ozark has issued a special invitation to its residents and business owners to help shape the future of the community. The second of three public Focus Sessions on updating the city’s Comprehensive Plan will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, at Willmore Lodge, 1 Willmore Lane, Lake Ozark.  Housing and infrastructure are on the agenda. The final session will be held July 22. The turnout at the first Focus Session in May drew about two dozen individuals to discuss economic development and quality of life, creating a useful dialogue that city staff and plan developer Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments will use in developing the new Comp Plan. Focus Sessions are open to residents, property owners and business owners in City of Lake Ozark.  The plan, which is a long-term guide for the community, hasn’t been updated since 2006. While the city’s economic base and infrastructure have evolved in the last decade, the city’s master development plan has remained unchanged for some 15 years.  Citizen participation is highly encouraged to develop a comprehensive plan which will guide the City of Lake Ozark in decision making for future development that suits both City of Lake Ozark and the community.  “The plan gives the city a vision as to how it wants development in the future,” LOCOLG Executive Director Linda Connor explained when the board voted last year to move ahead with the process. “We want to make sure we put in the plan what the city wants to look like in the next 10-15 years.” An updated Comprehensive Plan is important when the city applies for state and federal funds. “A new Comprehensive Plan will serve as the guiding force for the city as we continue to grow in the near future,” Fry said. “This document will provide a rationale for decision-making for our boards and commissions and will also show the world what the priorities and direction are for the City of Lake Ozark.” Anyone who has questions pertaining to the focus session can contact the Lake of the Ozarks Council of Local Governments at 573-346-5692 or email [email protected]     

TEST TW WEATHER

City may tighten virtual meeting attendance rules

Consideration of an ordinance allowing for city board and commission member attendance of city meetings by electronic means evolved into a discussion about the importance of attending meetings in person.

Ultimately, the board voted during its regular meeting Tuesday, May 11, to table a decision to gauge input from the public and for more consideration. The authorization for electronic meetings applies to the board of aldermen and any commission authorized by city code.

The impact of COVID-19 last year led to adoption of an ordinance allowing for virtual meetings so board members and staff could attend via Zoom. That authorization expired March 31, and City Administrator Dave Van Dee told the board of aldermen during a September workshop that the board should revisit the issue in light of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, which it did Tuesday night.

He raised two points during the workshop which the board discussed at its most recent meeting:

•Under what circumstances should the use of the electronic format rather than in-person attendance be allowed.

•The city has a rule that if a board or commission member (other than the board of aldermen) misses three or more meetings they can be removed. Van Dee asked if one of those members misses three or more meetings via electronic means, can they be removed.

 

Board discussion

Currently, one or more board members attends meetings electronically on a regular basis. 

Newly elected Alderman Matt Wright noted that discussion at the workshop included the importance of attending meetings in person.

“We talked a little bit about using it as a crutch vs. a way of life that if you’re elected you should make an effort to be here,” he said. “Obviously, things do come up like vacations and hardships, but people want to see you in person sitting up here, though maybe not every single meeting. You seem less available if you aren’t here.”

City Attorney Christopher Rohrer said he crafted the proposed generic ordinance from how other communities which are dealing with the electronic meeting format. The board has the option of making any changes to the proposal for further review. The ordinance cannot, however, limit the number of appearances by elected officials. 

“I don’t see any way around not having an ordinance because of COVID. It’s a new world we live in now,” Mayor Dennis Newberry offered. “But I don’t like it being used for other purposes and then we all become lazy and sit at home on your laptops.”

Alderman Dennis Klautzer agreed.

“I think part of our responsibility as an elected official is to be present,” he said.

“We all have schedules that take us away from what we have to do sometimes, but 20 meetings a year and you can’t be here? That doesn’t seem right.”

The board encouraged input from the public on the importance of attending meetings in person rather than via electronic means.

“I think your voters will ultimately determine that issue,” Rohrer said.

 

Other concerns

•The board discussed improving the sound system so board and commission members who Zoom in can be heard better and can hear what goes on at the actual meetings. 

•If the public is invited to attend meetings via electronic means, how will the discussion be controlled (both audio and video) to maintain board meeting decorum? The board was told there are ways to mute participants once they have addressed the board during the Citizens Communication portion of each agenda.