Policy on Comments at Regular Monthly Board Meetings
(Adopted the 9th day of August, 2005) - Amended on February 13, 2018 and December 13, 2018
The following procedure will be followed for public comment on items with the exception of consent and public hearing topics at regular monthly meetings of the Blowing Rock Town Council:
It is the philosophy of the Town of Blowing Rock that providing citizens with adequate information and fair opportunities to have their ideas, opinions and concerns addressed fosters and maintains trust in the government process, encourages public participation in the government process, and allows for the development and implementation of programs and services which are responsive to our citizens’ needs.
Generally, information should be conveyed to and issues addressed by the Town Manager and town staff members. This procedure allows for a comprehensive review and analysis of the issue and an informed response or action. There are occasions, however, when a citizen may wish to address the Town Council directly regarding an issue. The following policy is hereby established for this public address to the Board:
At the beginning of the regularly scheduled monthly meeting, the Board shall allow public comment during a “Speakers from the Floor” period. The maximum amount of time set aside for public comment shall be thirty (30) minutes, but the Board may reduce that time based upon various factors, such as: the length of the meeting, the time the normal business on the agenda concludes, whether there is a closed session scheduled, etc.
Prior to the meeting, anyone wishing to speak shall complete an index card supplied by the Town, on which they will provide their name, address and telephone number. They shall identify the topic they wish to address, and indicate any Town representative with whom they have discussed the issue. These cards are to be presented to the Town Clerk who will give each card a number in the order in which it is received.
Items of discussion during the “Speakers from the Floor” segment of the meeting will be only those appropriate to Open Meetings.Closed Meeting topics include, but are not limited to, such subjects as personnel, acquisition of real property, contract negotiations, litigation, and information protected by the client-attorney privilege.Closed Meeting subjects will not be entertained. Also, speakers should refrain from matters, which concern the candidacy of any person seeking public office, including the person addressing the Board.
Public Comments are to be directed to the Board as a whole. Citizens will be expected to be civil in their language and presentation and not engage in personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks. Otherwise, the Mayor may declare the Speaker out of order, and the Council may bar them from speaking further before the Council during this meeting unless permission to continue shall be granted by a majority vote of the Council, under such restrictions as the Council may provide.
When the Board reaches the “Speakers from the Floor” segment of the meeting, the Mayor will recognize those wishing to speak in the numerical order shown on the cards.Individuals who are recognized will come to the podium and give their name and address. In deference to all who wish to speak, each individual will be asked to limit his or her comments to no more than three (3) minutes, and the Town Attorney will keep the time for that period.A person may only speak once during this “Speakers from the Floor” period.
The Board is interested in hearing your concerns, but speakers should not expect Board action or deliberation on subject matter brought up during the public comment portion of the meeting. Topics requiring further investigation and action will be referred to the appropriate Town officials or staff and may be scheduled for a future agenda.
Alternate Method for Communicating with the Town Council
Citizens are encouraged to contact their elected representatives at any time outside the Council meeting setting. Any citizen with questions, concerns or suggestions has the opportunity to call, write or meet with representatives of the Board by contacting them directly or via Town Hall.
A list of phone numbers and mailing addresses for Town Council members is available from the Town Clerk.