Procedure blocks re-vote on Key Bank building planter boxes

Watertown city council meeting
Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:07 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A resolution to reconsider removing planter boxes in front of Watertown’s Key Bank building could not be discussed Monday due to procedural rules.

At a meeting Monday night, council member Lisa Ruggiero tried to bring forward he resolution, which had previously been voted down, but Mayor Jeff Smith asked for a point of order.

Interim city attorney Todd Bullard explained only members of the prevailing side are allowed to reintroduce the motion, meaning the group that voted “no.”

That was Mayor Smith, council member Sarah Compo Pierce, and council member Cliff Olney, who was absent from the meeting, and therefore a “no” vote under the city’s charter.

Bullard cited parliamentary procedures, which say because Olney was absent, he cannot bring forward the resolution.

Neither Smith nor Compo Pierce chose to bring it back up.

Bullard says the rules prevent motions from being made again and again without change.

“There is a finite number of motions to reconsider that can be made and typically they are not made because under the spirit of the notes and comments, you can’t just make constant motions to reconsider,” Bullard said. “The classic basis for a motion of reconsider is if new information has come up, right, that would change someone’s vote, right.”

It’s unclear if another form of this resolution may be brought up again, but some on the council did show interest in doing so.

The council also tabled a resolution to give Hospice of Jefferson County $225,000 towards ventilation at its new facility.

Ruggiero brought it forward, asking the city to use American Rescue Plan Act money.

However, Bullard says new facilities can no longer use ARPA money for COVID-19 mitigation because it is no longer considered a public emergency.

Council also debated the fairness of choosing one nonprofit over another.

The next time this can be brought up is September 5.