(1) A local government within whose jurisdiction the power plant is proposed to be sited may hold one informational public meeting in addition to the hearings specifically authorized by this act on any matter associated with the electrical power plant proceeding. Such informational public meetings shall be held by the local government or by the regional planning council if the local government does not hold such meeting within 70 days after the filing of the application. The purpose of an informational public meeting is for the local government or regional planning council to further inform the public about the proposed electrical power plant or associated facilities, obtain comments from the public, and formulate its recommendation with respect to the proposed electrical power plant.
(2) Informational public meetings shall be held solely at the option of each local government or regional planning council if a public meeting is not held by the local government. It is the legislative intent that local governments or regional planning councils attempt to hold such public meetings. Parties to the proceedings under this act shall be encouraged to attend; however, no party other than the applicant and the department shall be required to attend such informational public meetings.
(3) A local government or regional planning council that intends to conduct an informational public meeting must provide notice of the meeting to all parties not less than 5 days prior to the meeting and to the general public in accordance with s. 403.5115(5). The expense for such notice is eligible for reimbursement under s. 403.518(2)(c)1. (4) The failure to hold an informational public meeting or the procedure used for the informational public meeting is not grounds for the alteration of any time limitation in this act under s. 403.5095 or grounds to deny or condition certification.