Public Comment Policy

Board of Aldermen Policy On Comments At Board Meetings

  1. Frequency of Public Comment Periods.  The Board must provide at least one opportunity for public comment each month at a regular meeting, except that the Board need not offer a public comment period during any month in which it does not hold a regular meeting.
  2. Rules for Public Comment Periods.  The Board hereby adopts the following reasonable rules for the conduct of public comment during regular meetings:
    1. At the beginning of each regularly scheduled meeting, the Board will allow public comment.
    2. The maximum time allotted for all comments from the public shall be thirty (30) minutes, and the maximum time allotted for any individual to make comments shall be three (3) minutes.  No individual may speak more than once.  The Board may, in its discretion and by a majority vote of the members actually in attendance and not excused from voting, increase or decrease this period or, if all other persons have spoken, permit any individual to speak longer than their allotted time or more than once, based upon various factors, such as: the length of the meeting agenda; the time required to address the normal business on the agenda; whether a closed session is scheduled; whether one or more of the Board members are unable to remain past a certain time; or any such other reasonable grounds to alter the time provided for public comment.
    3. Before any meeting including a public comment period is called to order, any individual may request to speak during the period by submitting a fully completed written request card supplied by the Town to the Town Clerk. 
    4. A written request shall not be fully completed unless the individual provides their name, permanent residential address, and telephone number, as well as the general topic of their remarks. 
    5. The Town Clerk shall reject any written requests which are not fully completed and shall mark all fully completed requests with a number corresponding to the order in which it was received.
    6. During that portion of the meeting designated for public comment, the mayor shall recognize the individuals who wish to speak in the numerical order shown on the fully completed request cards provided by the Town Clerk.
    7. Individuals providing comment during the public comment period are permitted to express their concerns or opinions about any matter under discussion or share facts, data, or other information which may assist the Board in its deliberation, or on any subject within the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction, but they may not ask questions of the Mayor, Town Board, or Town officers or employees; make personal attacks on the members of the Board or mayor, or any other persons; or comment upon matters which are not pertinent to a subject within the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction; or generally expound on matters which are wholly unrelated and irrelevant to the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction.
    8. The Town Attorney shall keep time for each individual and for the total time of the public comment period.
    9. The Board may decline to take action on a request presented during the public comment period.  The Board also may refer the matter to the Town Manager, the Town Attorney, or another appropriate individual for investigation, action, or for future report back to the Board.
  3. Content-Based Restrictions Generally Prohibited.  The Board will not restrict speakers based on the subject-matter of their remarks, as long as their comments pertain to subjects within the Board’s real or apparent jurisdiction.