Puslinch pricing out cost of hybrid council meetings

PUSLINCH – Puslinch council is contemplating going back to in-person meetings but will have to surmount a few challenges first – mainly the technological kind.

Council hasn’t met in-person since March 2020 and at its Sept. 28 meeting, councillors discussed their desire to return to chambers.

CAO Glenn Schwendinger told council the township is hamstrung with the same challenges people in the community are experiencing – namely spotty internet.

On top of that, council chambers is not outfitted with cameras, microphones and recording devices to offer a hybrid meeting.

And the room is small, he said.

“We could have council and staff (in chambers) but there’s a space constraint with the public,” Schwendinger said.

In light of that, Mayor James Seeley asked if it would be possible to hold in-person council meetings at the Puslinch Community Centre, which could definitely accommodate a crowd.

“It’s an option we are looking at,” Schwendinger replied. “We are costing for AV (audio-visual technology) over there.”

Councillor Jessica Goyda said she’s heard from residents that they prefer to delegate in person and councillor John Sepulis agreed.

“Not all people can attend the meetings; not all people can attend the day meetings. They should be recorded,” he said.

Schwendinger said staff will cost the AV equipment and report back to council on its findings.

Township clerk Courtenay Hoytfox presented the upcoming schedule of meetings for council at the meeting, which council approved. 

For the time being, they will be held on Zoom and a recording of the meeting is usually posted on the township website a day or two later.

Council will continue to meet every third Wednesday at 10am until further notice. Public meetings will also be held on Wednesday evenings at 7pm and generally will be on the same day as council meetings.

Council approved the following schedule for budget meetings, which are often of great public interest:

  • Sept. 28, proposed user fees and charges by-law public information meeting;
  • Oct. 19, adoption of user fees and charges by-law;
  • Nov. 16, road and facility tour with department heads and council;
  • Nov. 22, present proposed capital budget and 10-year forecast to council including capital budget sheets;
  • Nov. 30, present proposed base operating budget to council;
  • Nov. 30, grant applications and amounts requested under the grant application program;
  • Jan. 18, updated capital and operating budget based on council’s direction;
  • Jan. 25, proposed budget public information meeting; and
  • final budget approval (not yet scheduled).