City council meetings to keep virtual option

Residents can view virtually for the foreseeable future

The city council met in-person in May for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.
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The city council met in-person in May for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

The Bayonne City Council will continue to use a hybrid meeting format, so residents can attend in-person or virtually. After the recent lifting of state COVID-19 restrictions, the council held its first in-person meeting since the onset of the pandemic.

The council met, not at the council chambers at City Hall, but in the auditorium of Bayonne High School. This was due to the anticipated interest in controversial ordinances up for public hearing regarding the use of eminent domain on Bayonne Medical Center.

The ordinances were tabled, but they will be heard again at the upcoming meeting in June. There are currently no plans to hold the June meeting in the Bayonne auditorium.

The council will hold its first caucus and regular meeting in the council chambers on June 16. Residents do not have to sign up to attend.

Staying hybrid

The city is now operating under a hybrid meeting format, much like Bayonne Board of Education meetings, which is not likely to change soon. Despite recent changes to state COVID-19 restrictions, according to Public Information Officer Joe Ryan there are no plans to end the virtual streaming of council meetings through the current platform TetherView.

Scheduled meetings on TetherView’s platform will be held virtually until December.

The virtual meetings were more accessible to residents than normal meetings, given that anyone could watch from their computers, tablets or televisions from anywhere with an internet connection. As reopening continues, the platform will serve those who don’t feel comfortable at in-person meetings.

The return to in-person meetings marked the return of many vocal residents who frequently attended until the shift to virtual. Despite the increased accessibility on the virtual platform, resident turnout was down.

Shifting back to in-person meetings brought back residents without internet access, without the means or know-how to attend virtually, or those who were uncomfortable doing so.

The meetings will remain hybrid for the rest of the year. For more information, go to bayonnenj.org and click on the event on the calendar webpage.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.