Meadville Tribune

Local News

January 15, 2013

New rules for public comments at council meetings begin this week

MEADVILLE — Meadville City Council’s new public comment policy will be in effect Wednesday when council meets at 6 p.m. for its regularly-scheduled meeting in the new City Hall, 984 Diamond Park.

Under the new policy, the agenda of each regularly scheduled monthly meeting and work session as well as other special meetings will include a public comment period near the beginning of the meeting to provide an opportunity for members of the public to comment on matters of “concern, official action or deliberation” that are on that meeting’s agenda. At the discretion of the chair of the meeting, a second public comment period may be offered at the end.

At the beginning of the meeting, city residents or taxpayers wanting to make a comment shall sign a “sign in sheet” provided by the city clerk, specifying name, address and the subject matter on which they wish to comment.

Persons who are not residents or taxpayers of the city, or who do not fill out the sign-in sheet at the meeting, may only address council with council’s special permission.

An individual offering public comment at the beginning of the meeting will have a maximum of five minutes to address council on meeting agenda items.

Any discretionary public comment at the end of the meeting shall be limited to three minutes per individual on any relevant City of Meadville topic.

If a group of residents or taxpayers of the city wish to comment on an issue and/or topic, they are asked to select one individual to speak for the group.

Exceptions can be made by the chair of the meeting or upon a motion from a member of council and with a majority of the members of council present concurring.

During the meeting, members of council will consider resolutions authorizing 90-day trial periods changing Center Street to two-way running east and west between Diamond Park and Park Avenue, and Cottage Street to one-way running north from Center to Walnut streets.

According to City Manager Joe Chriest, as a result of the recent location of city hall to Diamond Park, police department vehicles must currently enter and exit their Center Street parking lot traveling only in a westerly direction, potentially resulting in additional emergency response time. During council’s recent study session, Chriest also noted that a majority of the owners of surrounding neighboring property and businesses have asked the city to consider making Center two-way in that block. Because of the width of the roadway, on-street parking will also be eliminated on the entire block.

Due to the narrow width of Cottage Street between Center and Walnut, changing that block from two-way to one-way in a northern direction would also potentially reduce emergency response time, according to Chriest.

The trial periods will begin as soon as city work crews have installed the required traffic signs.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at mspicer@meadvilletribune.com.

 

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