Arnold Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday after not getting anything done when it met last week because, legally, it couldn’t.
That’s because, if it had voted on anything on its agenda, it would have been in violation of a state regulation that went into effect last August.
The regulation is a change to the state’s Sunshine Law, which spells out how government agencies conduct public meetings.
Under the change, local agencies, such as school boards, borough councils and boards of township supervisors, must prepare and publicly post an agenda detailing what business it will be conducting.
It must be posted 24 hours in advance of the meeting at the agency’s principal office and the meeting’s location. If the agency has a website, the notice must be posted 24 hours in advance.
Some exceptions are allowed for things such as emergency business or business that arose in that 24-hour period.
Attorney Jaclyn Shaw, the city’s solicitor, said city officials failed to post the agenda for the March 7 meeting.
“All of this,” Mayor Joseph Bia said, holding the agenda. “we can’t act on any of it because it wasn’t advertised.”
Shaw said Bia became aware of the situation the night before, when a resident brought it to his attention. She suggested, and city officials agreed, the best solution was to reschedule the meeting and make sure the agenda is posted as required.
Aside from standard actions such as paying the city’s bills, the agenda contained mainly actions to authorize grant applications, approve the purchase of real estate for condemnation purposes, and hire part-time code enforcement officers.
Although it could not conduct official business, council remained in session to hear reports from the heads of various city departments and to allow citizens’ comments from the floor.
In addition to the council meeting, which will be held at its usual location in the public safety building, a conditional-use hearing will precede it at 6 p.m.
That hearing is on a proposal to use the former Affordable Auto repair shop property on Freeport Road as a gas station.