Plymouth Planning Commission and BZA are seeking Council support for a stipend to increase council member participation

On Tuesday evening, the Plymouth Planning Commission and Zoning Appeals Board heard member Fred Webster’s recommendation to introduce a stipend for members to attend meetings.

Webster said that in recent years the Planning Commission has struggled to get enough members to attend a meeting to achieve a quorum. He said the BZA encountered the same problem. He said that when citizens attend meetings to do business, sometimes with a lawyer, architects or anyone from out of town, “If we don’t have a quorum, it doesn’t seem very Well.”

Webster said he was the liaison for the County Plan Commission, and he said they didn’t seem to have a problem getting members to show up for a board meeting.

He said, “Once in a while there will be a member who doesn’t show up, but that’s about it.” Webster said the county pays members of its council an allowance to attend meetings. He proposed to ask the Common Council to consider paying members who attend the Plymouth Plan Commission or BZA meeting an allowance as an incentive to attend.

Fred Webster said the city is preparing to prepare the 2023 budget, so now is a good time to seek support and hopefully encourage members to attend monthly meetings. He says he spoke to the mayor and the clerk-treasurer about this possibility.

City Attorney Sean Surrisi said Mayor Senter asked area mayors if they had paid board and, if so, what the salary was. Surrisi said it was about 50% who said they paid board members, though the amount was all over the place.

Planning Commission member Mark Gidley said there were a few members who rarely showed up for a meeting. We should consider fixing a number of missed meetings and you are asked if they really want to be on the board or removed.

Plan director Ralph Booker said: “I think we adopted rules of procedure a few years ago. He also had to investigate and report information to the Planning Commission.

The Board of Zoning Appeals heard the same comments from Fred Webster who is an alternate BZA. Again on Tuesday evening, two alternates had to attend the meeting in order to be able to make decisions with a quorum.

BZA chairman Art Jacobs said: “I don’t think the salary will help. I think it’s more important to hold ourselves accountable. Members must hold themselves accountable. Jacobs said he spoke to the city attorney about the possibility of the mayor replacing members who are not in attendance.

BZA member Mark Gidley said, “I don’t want anyone here just interested in getting $50. I want someone here who will contribute and cares about the community and gets involved in the cases. There are members who come to these meetings and don’t even know what’s in the board kits until they get here.

It was noted that members are asked to notify the municipal office if they will not be able to attend a meeting, but this does not always happen. Jacobs said, “I think it’s quite disrespectful to those who show up, that someone even knows to say they can’t come.”

The Planning Commission and the BZA will forward their request to the Municipal Council for the determination of an allocation.

Members of the Plymouth Plan Commission are Bill Walters, appointed by the Public Works and Safety Board, Randy Longanecker, appointed by the City Council, Alex Eads, Member of Plymouth Park Board and appointed by the Council of the park, Fred Webster, Linda Secor, Beth Pinkerton, Angela Rupchcok-Schafer and John Yadon nominated by the mayor, city engineer Mark Gidley representing the 2-mile which is nominated by the Marshall County Plan Commission and Doug Feece the other 2-mile representative appointed by Marshall County Commissioners. County Commission Stan Klotz is a member of the County Plan Commission and liaison with the City Plan Commission.

The Board of Zoning Appeals includes Art Jacobs, Alan Selge, John Yadon who are appointed by the Mayor and Mark Gidley who is appointed by the Plymouth Plan Commission and lives outside the city limits, Keith Wickens who is appointed by the City Council and n He is not a member of the Plan Commission, Linda Secor alternate appointed by the mayor and Fred Webster and alternate appointed by the city council.

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