Puyallup City Council has officially moved the start time of its regular meetings an hour earlier to 6 p.m.
The change to city code was approved in a 4-3 vote Tuesday after a lengthy discussion and some — at times heated — comment from the public.
Councilmen Don Malloy, John Knutsen and Rick Hansen voted against moving the meeting time, saying they heard feedback from residents that it should stay at 7 p.m. to give people time to get home from work and eat dinner beforehand.
“I think 7 p.m. has historically worked for us,” Malloy said.
A handful of residents also spoke on the issue, all in favor of keeping the meeting time at 7 p.m. Some said moving the start time an hour earlier is a strike against transparency.
Resident Steven Shores said nearby cities such as Sumner and Orting start their meetings later. “There’s a reason for that,” he said.
But other council members said they’ve heard from citizens in favor of starting the meetings earlier. Councilwoman Nicole Martineau said the meetings often are lengthy, and a later start time means they run longer into the night which also can pose challenges for citizens who want to attend.
She also said she hasn’t seen a drop in attendance over the last few months when the meetings have started at 6 p.m. The council in July amended its procedural rules to move up the meeting times; the vote Tuesday made the rules and code in sync.
Mayor Kathy Turner, Deputy Mayor Tami Brouillet and Councilman Kent Boyle also approved the time change. Turner said an earlier time also is better for city staff who must attend the meetings after a full day of work at City Hall.