Lovettsville Council Bans Remote Meeting Participation, Limits Meeting Times

The Town of Lovettsville has become the only town in the county to require its council members to be physically present to participate in meetings and the only Town Council to impose limits on the length of its meetings, at three hours and 15 minutes.

The council last week voted unanimously to adopt revised rules and procedures, which include those provisions.

Council members are now prohibited from participating in meetings remotely, following the request of Mayor Nate Fontaine, who stressed that the seven-person council is the face of the 2,000-resident town. Council members have been allowed to participate remotely for nearly six years, ever since the Town Council adopted such a provision in July 2014.

The 7:30 p.m. Town Council meetings also will adjourn no later than 10:45 p.m. To ensure that happens, the council will not begin any new discussions after 10 p.m. Last year, 12 meetings ended after 10:45 p.m. and one wrapped up at 12:35 a.m. So far in 2020, six of the eight Town Council meetings ran past 10:45 p.m.

The new rules also give the mayor eight calendar days to veto any ordinance the Town Council votes to adopt. Aside from the new time element, that power is already outlined in the Town Charter.

The adoption of the new rules marks the end of a nearly two-year process that began when much of the current Town Council took office in July 2018.

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