Every meeting has an agenda that shows the order in which specific development projects and other items are to be discussed. Agendas are available online about 5 days before the meeting. Paper copies of the agenda are available at the meeting either in the lobby or on the table at the rear of the meeting room.
Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes before the meeting starts.
Anyone wishing to speak during the meeting must fill out a Speaker's Card and give it to the City Clerk or Commission Secretary at the front of the room before the meeting. Speaker's cards are available on the table at the rear of the room. If you arrive late, you may fill out a card and quietly walk up and give it to the City Clerk or Commission Secretary during a pause in the meeting.
The commission or city council members sit behind a long desk on a raised platform at the front of the room. The City Clerk or Commission Secretary sits on the left side near the front. City staff members, who are there to answer questions from the commission or council, sit on the right side near the front. Representatives from newspapers and other media sit at a table in the rear of the room on the right.
The audience sits facing the front. If there is a large crowd, additional rooms in the same building, or nearby buildings, may be opened. There are large-screen, closed-circuit television monitors with speakers in the main room, the lobby, and any designated additional rooms. These allow people to see and hear the person speaking. Their words are shown in English at the bottom of the screen.
More information on meeting proceedings is shown at the top of each agenda.
The meeting is run by commission chairperson or the mayor. They decide on the final order of the agenda items, the allotted speaking time, and the ordering of the speakers.
The meeting begins with the Salute to the Flag, Roll Call and general announcements.
The Consent Calendar is next. These are routine items that generally do not require discussion and are voted on by a single vote. Sometimes there are development items included here. The chairperson or mayor will ask if anyone wants to remove an item from the Consent Calendar. If anyone wants to express a concern or make an objection to a development on the Consent Calendar, that person must request that it be removed at this time. Depending on how many discussion items are on the agenda, the topic may be discussed later in the meeting or it may be rescheduled to another meeting.
Public/Oral Communications is next. During this time, anyone may talk briefly about any topic that is not on the agenda. Topics may be a complaint about graffiti, an announcement of an upcoming public event, or almost anything. People who want to speak about a specific development should not speak at this time -- wait until the development comes up on the agenda.
Public Hearing Items are next. When a specific development project comes up on the agenda, the city staff member assigned to that project makes a summary. The commission or council members may ask questions.
Next, the developer or main presenter discusses the main points and benefits of the project usually for 10 minutes. Again, the commission or council members may ask questions.
After that, those who wish to speak on the project and have submitted a Speaker's Card, are called up to the podium by name. Speakers may be concerned citizens of the community, representatives of various groups, or others from the general public. Speakers may make positive or negative statements about the project, but they probably should not ask questions -- in general, questions will not be answered.
Each person is normally allowed up to 3 minutes to speak, but it may be only 1 minute if there are 30 or more speakers. The chairperson or mayor asks the meeting secretary to start the speaker's clock which will turn on a yellow light on the podium when there is 1 minute left. Speakers who exceed the time limit will be asked to stop and not allowed to finish. [See Speaker's Card] Sometimes the commission or council will ask questions of a speaker, but they usually do not. If a speaker is asked a question, there is no time limit on his or her answer.
After the last speaker, the developer or main presenter is given 5 minutes to respond to comments made by the public. The public is not allowed to make any further comments or object to anything said by the developer or presenter -- even if they believe what was said is not correct.
Finally, the comment period is closed and the commission or council discusses the project between themselves and the city staff. The developer and the public are not allowed to make any more comments. After the council or commission finish discussing the topic, one of them will make a motion to approve, make changes, disapprove, or postpone a decision. Each member votes, and the chairperson or mayor announces the decision.
After all the agenda items have been discussed, there may be some reports or further items to discuss before ending the meeting. If the meeting goes beyond a certain time, any remaining items may be rescheduled to another date.
The official summary of the meeting is usually not available until several months after the meeting.
If anyone wishes to take legal action against the city regarding a project or other decision, the specific points in the lawsuit must have been presented either before or during the meeting. Legal actions must be filed within 90 days of the meeting.