Dover City Council seeks to hold meetings at Levy Court chambers

DOVER — Kent County Levy Court commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with allowing Dover’s city council to meet in its chambers at 555 South Bay Road in Dover.

Dover city council president Tim Slavin approached the Levy Court at their meeting on Tuesday night with the proposal.

“Our space in city hall is an aging facility, and it will need investment soon,” he said. “With this state-of-the-art facility right here, it made sense for us to ask,”

Mr. Slavin framed his proposal with the facts that the council meetings are often overcrowded, which causes a fire hazard, they no longer have the ability to film and broadcast their sessions and their chambers remain handicap inaccessible.

“We are on the cusp of having to reinvest in cameras and technology in that chamber and I just don’t see that as being a good use of the taxpayer’s dollars when we have a chamber like this so close,” he said.

He proposed that the council would meet for its committees at 5 p.m. and council meeting at 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of the month — days on which the Levy Court chambers are otherwise empty. He also thinks that if the county and city were to cooperate and share equipment, having their meetings broadcast once again would be fairly simple — which would offer greater transparency.

“Right now, we don’t even have the capability to record our meetings,” said Mr. Slavin. “We’d work with you to see if we could get it broadcast from here. We are off live TV as of now, because we lost that in our renegotiations with Comcast — they simply got out of that business.”

Although fifth district commissioner George “Jody” Sweeney raised some concerns about how to best accommodate the city’s technical communication needs, he resolved to confer with the IT department on logistics.

With the Levy Court’s support, the proposal moved forward.

“With a consensus to move forward at the staff level to work out the logistics of how this would work, we can bring it back and apprise the Levy Court with a final version,” said county administrator Michael Petit de Mange

In support of the idea, first district commissioner P. Brooks Banta took the opportunity to thank Mr. Slavin for helping to continue to foster cooperation between the city and county, whose relationship, he claims, is improving.

“I think that the relationship between the county and the city now is far better than it has been in previous years,” he said. “This request is certainly worth consideration.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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