The simple answer to that question is that it wasn’t intentional, but the front doors to University Park City Hall were indeed locked at 5 p.m. last night, just as the UP City Council began its meeting that included a public hearing on the city’s 2015 budget.
UP community information officer Steve Mace confirmed the situation was an oversight caused by a mechanism that automatically locks the doors at 5 p.m. on weekdays. Normally when there’s a late public meeting, the timing on the locks is adjusted accordingly, but nobody did that yesterday.
The explanation is plausible, even if the timing was unfortunate. Nobody spoke during the public hearing on the upcoming fiscal year budget, which includes a proposed plan to lower the property tax rate by 1.7 percent. So it’s doubtful anybody would have any complaints about that.
The building does have a 24-hour emergency entrance nearby that was open during the meeting. However, some folks stranded outside didn’t seem to notice.