Strong public interest in council's decision whether to apply for a rate increase has prompted Kempsey Shire Council to move the November meeting to Majestic Cinemas in Kempsey Central.
The cinema will host both the ordinary meeting held on Tuesday 21 November and the Public Forum on the Monday afternoon before.
Craig Milburn, General Manager, acknowledged the significant public interest in the meeting and highlighted concerns with the Council Chambers including capacity, disability access and the single staircase entry.
"The Council Chambers is not able to safely accommodate a large public gallery attendance, and by moving the meeting to a more suitable venue we will create capacity for more interested community members to attend both meetings," said Mr Milburn.
"In considering viable locations staff identified the need for availability during business hours, good parking, appropriate access and high-quality internet and audio-visual connection."
The Public Forum, which normally runs for 1 hour, has also been extended to run for up to 2 hours. It will be held on Monday 20 November from 3.30-5.30pm.
The extra time will help accommodate expected additional requests by members of the public to speak on items before Council.
Anyone wanting to speak at the Public Forum needs to register between Wednesday 15 and midday Friday 17 November, using the form on Council's website.
Individual presentations will still be held to the five-minute time limit.
"We have given the matter careful consideration and discussed the options with the Councillors," said Mr Milburn.
"We will still be holding the Public Forum on the afternoon before the meeting, to adhere to our code of meeting practice.
"This earlier start allows for more community involvement, creates flexibility for people with work commitments, and ensures Councillors have time to give due consideration to issues raised in the Public Forum and to seek further confirmation or facts from the staff overnight before voting on these matters."
In 2018 when Council made its one-off financial contribution to the cinema construction, a voluntary planning agreement was signed granting Council annual access to the cinema facility free of charge for community use.
"Council makes no ongoing financial contribution to the operation of the cinema, but taking advantage of the venue for this meeting is an appropriate decision," said Mr Milburn.
Details and the business papers for the meeting will be available from Wednesday 15 November 2023 on council's website.
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