Idea to shorten council public comment time rejected
SNOHOMISH — The City Council last week quashed a suggestion to shrink the public comment period to 60 seconds for items on the council’s meeting agenda.
The suggestion came from the city attorney’s office as an efficiency measure. It was presented as part of a periodic review of council procedures.
The public can speak on agenda items for three minutes at meetings, at it will stay that way. The public can also introduce new topics during the “citizen comments” period at the start of each meeting.
Residents who often address the council universally panned the idea.
The comment time may be someone’s last chance or first opportunity to address council on an item, and some people need more than 60 seconds to flesh out their thoughts, resident Merritt Weese said. Shortening comment times misses the opportunity to hear the public, resident Marilene Richardson said. Resident John Lorenz said it “would be a slap in our faces” to shorten the time.
“The whole purpose of (public comments time) is to convince the council on the item,” city watchdog Morgan Davis said.
The City Council meets over Zoom at 6 p.m. each first and third Tuesday of the month.
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