Snyder Village offered as venue for village board meeting

Sean McGowan

METAMORA — Metamora Mayor Ken Maurer and company shoulder the responsibility of catering to a village of more than 3,600 people.

Of that population, about 10 percent can all but muster the energy to go from their residence to the twice-monthly Village Board meetings located at the Village Hall, 102 N. Davenport St.

These 10 percent reside at Snyder Village and are of senior citizen status.

To solve this problem, Snyder Village Executive Director Keith Swartzentruber proposed to Maurer that he and his trustees hold a Village Board meeting at Snyder Village to allow those occupying that community to attend the meetings.

“Many of the (Snyder Village residents) can’t come up to the meetings, but they would love to see one ...,” Maurer said.

Swartzentruber said the board once held a meeting at Snyder Village 15 years ago and that he has wanted to make it happen again ever since.

“I thought then it was a good idea,” Swartzentruber said. “It would be a great opportunity for our 300-plus residents to see their Village Board in action.”

Maurer then brought forth the idea to the Village Board during the July 2 meeting.

“It’s nice of Snyder Village to offer, and I think we would have a big turnout from their residents,” Maurer said.

However, the board did not vote to approve such an idea, but rather discussed the idea for a period of time.

During the discussion, Maurer said his main concern is with the possibility of violating Illinois’ Open Meetings Act.

An example of this would be Swartzentruber’s invitation to have the mayor and his trustees eat dinner at Snyder Village.

“The problem with that is we would have to call a meeting, and the general public would be invited to come watch us eat,” Maurer said. “If it’s not a meeting, then we could all eat, but you couldn’t talk any (village) business.”

Section 1.02 of Illinois’ Open Meetings Act states that a meeting involves any gathering of a majority of members of a public body held to discuss village business.

According to Swartzentruber, Snyder Village would be OK with having the Village Board holding its meeting while eating and taking a tour of the grounds.

“That would be great,” Swartzentruber said. “If they wanted to make it a meeting, I’d be happy to show everyone around.”

In addition, Swartzentruber said he would only need to invite the board once every couple of years for the benefit of his residents.

“It would be more of a meet-and-greet,” he said, adding that the only reason to have the board back is when a new board comes in.

Maurer’s other concern with the Open Meetings Act is that the village would need to make it convenient for the public to attend the meeting as well as give proper notification.

Under Section 2.03, the law requires that at least 10 days’ notice be given of a change in venue or time for a meeting.

“We don’t want someone to come up and think they’re coming to the meeting and haven’t realized it’s been moved to Snyder ... by the time they get down there, we’re halfway through the meeting, and they missed what it was they wanted,” Maurer said.

If the meeting were to be held at Snyder Village, Maurer said the board would likely do so in August.

For more information on Illinois’ Open Meetings Act, go to ILGA.gov.

The next Village Board meeting is set for July 16.