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Galt planners: Commission has enough members

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Posted: Saturday, June 1, 2013 12:00 am

Galt Planning Commissioners think things should be left as is when it comes to the number of members appointed by the city council.

The issue of adding an additional two members to the five-member commission will once again be discussed at Tuesday’s regular Galt City Council meeting.

The proposal to increase the number was officially discussed by council members in March, but they sought the input of the commission before making a decision.

When they discussed the possible change, the majority of the commission did not feel there would be enough benefit to the community to justify the additional $3,800 estimated annual cost to the city for stipends for the additional two commissioners, according to Sandra Kiriu, the city’s community development director and Planning Commission liaison.

“Those commissioners said they thought there was already good representation and diversity with the existing membership, and that Galt’s population was smaller than most jurisdictions who had seven-member commissions,” she said in an email.

Lodi, for example, has seven commissioners, while Elk Grove has five.

In Galt, Vice Mayor Mike Singleton in December proposed adding a sixth alternate commissioner who could vote only when there was an absence. The issue arose when a meeting last fall had to be canceled due to the lack of a quorum.

At their meeting May 9, however, commissioners noted that there was only that one meeting canceled due to lack of quorum in the past 13 years. They emphasized that there were unusual circumstances with that meeting — two conflicts of interest and one commissioner whose family member was in the hospital, according to Kiriu.

In spring 2011, after an ad hoc committee was formed to determine whether alternates were necessary on city commissions, the city council decided there only needed to be five planning commissioners. Each is appointed by one of the five council members.

During last month’s discussion, commissioners said they felt the city council made the decision to eliminate the alternate position in order to make the membership and procedures for the Planning Commission more consistent with the Parks and Recreation Commission, Kiriu said of the discussion last month.

“Therefore, they thought the five-member commission was sufficient and consistent with other commissions in the city,” she said.

On the other hand, two planning commissioners felt that the group’s duties have increased since the former Architectural Review Committee duties were assumed by the Planning Commission. They also liked the idea of having seven members so it would be easier to ensure there would be a quorum if a commissioner needed to be absent from a future meeting, Kiriu said.

The city council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the city council chambers at City Hall, 380 Civic Drive, Galt.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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