GRANTS PASS – Grants Pass city council members welcome public engagement in a variety of ways, including phone calls, written correspondence, email communications, and in person through conversations at meetings and public events, among others.
During their recent Strategic Planning sessions, Jan. 23-25, the mayor and city council discussed public comment and how it is currently managed during council business meetings. Topics of discussion included respecting the time of people needing to do business with the city and the ability for the public to address the council on matters pertaining to city business.
Most council meetings include public hearings and/or council action items where people need to do business with the city on items such as lot line adjustments, sign code appeals, façade improvement grants and others. Often, the applicant for these items hires an architect, contractor or planning consultant to help represent their interests. Recognizing that the city is the sole place for this type of business, and it comes at an hourly cost for some, the council has prioritized city business to occur first on the agenda at their meetings.
The council values citizen input and is implementing a few changes to their current public comment guidelines to make for a better public experience and more efficient and effective meetings.
The council’s approved public comment process is as follows:
• Those who wish to speak at public comment must complete a public comment card and turn it in to the city recorder by 5:50 p.m., prior to the start of a business session meeting held the first and third Wednesday of each month.
- Public comment cards can be picked up and submitted during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday) at City Administration, 101 NW ‘A’ St., Room #205, or 5:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. in the Council Chambers the day of the meeting.
- Public comment will be limited to no more than 30 minutes total.
- Due to time constraints, the mayor or chair may limit the time for individual public comment to accommodate everyone registered to speak.
- If more than two people are speaking on the same topic, those individuals will be asked to select a spokesperson and that one individual will be provided five minutes to speak.
- The mayor or chair will call on the registered speaker during the public comment session.
- When called to speak, the speaker will approach the podium and discuss their topic of interest.
- Positions of interest are to be presented in an atmosphere free from slander, threats, or other personal attacks.
- Signs or placards, outbursts of applause, campaigning for public office, or other disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.
- Speakers shall address the entire council as one body and shall not address specific council members individually.
- Council may consider items addressed during this time later in the agenda during Matters from Mayor, Council and Staff.
Public comment cards are not required for public hearings or council action items.
Questions regarding any government provided service or a current city policy, can be addressed to the city manager’s office. Arrangements for a sign language interpreter, hearing assistance and other assistance can be made by calling the city manager’s office at (541)450-6000.