THE number of ratepayers able to address Orange City Council at meetings could be capped to 10 with a five-minute time limit as the state government pushes for more efficient meetings.
The council's existing code of meeting practice allows 30 minutes for the open forum, but does not cap the number of speakers and forums where contentious issues are decided at the meeting often run over.
Councillors will vote on which measures to place on public exhibition on Tuesday night, which will also require speakers to register by 4pm on the day of the meeting.
Currently, speakers are allowed to register right up to the meeting start time of 7pm, however the report indicated the provisions would improve the conduct of public forums, help the public refine arguments to avoid repetition and improve meeting organisation.
A 10.30pm meeting cutoff, according to the report, would be a workplace health and safety measure to provide a safer environment for staff and councillors travelling home, as well as improve meeting efficiency.
"[It would also] assist in making council more inclusive by better accommodating the diverse commitments of potential councillors, such as child and work responsibilities," the report said.
Really, it's exceptional that we have [public forums] that go for an hour.Orange Residents and Ratepayers Association president Colin Young
Orange Residents and Ratepayers Association president Colin Young opposed the time limits for the overall meeting and the public forum, saying meetings were democracy at work.
"If it's an important issue, people really need a chance to express their opinion," he said.
"Particularly with the domestic violence crisis centre [where 19 people spoke], we had the pros and the antis and both had justifiable cases.
"Really, it's exceptional that we have ones that go for an hour."
Mr Young did agree with cutting off public forum registrations three hours before the meeting.
"People can get their thoughts together in a more ordered way," he said.
Other optional changes to the code of meeting practice include limiting the time councillors have to lodge a rescission motion to 12pm the day after the meeting, or two days after if they declare their intentions at the meeting.
Councillors would also have to lodge their intent to put forward motions eight days prior to meetings and would have to identify how they would be funded if they were not already part of the budget.
Mr Young said the requirement might prove difficult considering staff, not councillors, had control over money flow.
Mandatory additions will include live streaming and councillors receiving the agenda three days in advance, however the council already implements them.
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