Council goes couch surfing 

Missoulians used to checking out the weekly City Council meetings from their couches now will have to bust a move and show up in person to catch it live. City Council held its last meeting in City Hall’s Council Chambers Aug. 22, and their new meeting location—St. Patrick Hospital—isn’t equipped for live broadcast. Joel Baird, general manager of Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT), says that cable provider Bresnan Communications set up live broadcast hardware in City Hall when it cut a deal with the city, but St. Pat’s doesn’t have similar technology, and it’s too expensive for MCAT to purchase. Though Council’s weekly meetings will still be broadcast after the fact several times throughout the week, Baird says he’s curious to see what—if any—reaction the change will provoke.

City Council will still meet at 7 p.m. on Monday nights, though the next meeting isn’t until Sept. 12, and the new location is Suite 3 in the St. Patrick Hospital Conference Center. Committee meetings, which used to be on Wednesdays, will now be held throughout the day on Tuesdays in the County Courthouse, Room 201. Various boards and commissions that also used to meet in Council Chambers will meet in a hodgepodge of locations still being worked out, and City Clerk Marty Rehbein says citizens shouldn’t hesitate to call her office with questions about who’s meeting where and when.

The move is being made to allow expansion of Municipal Court, and remodeling of the space is scheduled to begin in early September.

Whiffs of sentimentality surfaced a few times during Council’s last meeting in the room Aug. 22, which began with a presentation of the colors by the Honor Guard to mark the occasion.

“Having served 19 and three-quarter years in this Council room, which is probably longer than anyone, it’s a bittersweet night, because there’s a lot of good memories in this room…and a few bad ones,” Council President Jack Reidy said just before adjournment.

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