Amarillo by Morning will take on a whole new meaning beginning September 4 when Amarillo City Council implements its new 7 a.m. meeting time.

City council members voted Tuesday to move their meeting time from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Tuesdays as a 90-day “test period.” The goal of the change remains unclear.

Numerous community members attended Tuesday’s meeting to voice their concerns, primarily that the new time would hinder residents’ abilities to attend city council meetings. Regardless, city council members proceeded to pass the measure.

“At this point we took the input from city council so we will be moving those meetings to 7 a.m. starting on September 4th … We’re always going to be missing people no matter what time we have meetings,” said City Manager Jared Miller in an interview with Myhighplains.com.

The time change follows a series of controversial events involving city council, such as the arrest of resident Kip Billups for clapping during a council meeting and an ongoing fight between the city and local homeless advocates. An increasing number of residents speaking out during the city’s public comment period has led many to believe the time change is meant to purposely suppress public involvement in city council business.

In an editorial published Tuesday by The Amarillo Pioneer, Thomas Warren III states, “Mayor Ginger Nelson has shown disregard for the attendees of the meetings in the past. From yelling at citizens from the dais, to referring to speakers as ’frequent flyers,’ Nelson has never shown appreciation for citizens who are involved in city government.” Warren goes on to say, “It seems that this trait is being exercised by all of the City Council by choosing to support and abide by a policy that is not even defined and is only created to keep citizens out of City Hall. Amarillo deserves better.”

For more information, please visit TheAmarilloPioneer.com.

Lauren Melear

Lauren Melear leads the West Texas Bureau of Texas Scorecard. When not working, Lauren enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog, as well as cooking, working out, traveling to the hill country, and cheering on the fightin' Texas Aggies.

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