The Meridian City Council says it wants to hear what citizens have to say. And this week, members voted in favor of reinstating a citizens' comment portion during their meetings. This time, the guidelines are very different. For starters, citizens will need to inform the clerk on the topic they want to speak about at least a week before the meeting.
"So that when they get here to the meeting we have an understanding; we've done some homework; we've actually gone out and had an opportunity to actually look at those sites that they are discussing if it's an issue there," Councilman Dustin Markham explained. "If it's an issue relating to a current city problem, then we can correct it as a council, and we have an understanding going into that meeting."
Only one person will be able to speak on a certain topic. That topic must be relevant and specific.
"We don't really just want people coming with just general comments or complaints, things like that, that are things that we can't deal with," Councilman George Thomas said. "In the past we had a lady from Clarke County come to the City Council meeting complaining about her husband; there's not a lot that we can do about that."
The total time for the citizens' comments portion of meetings is limited to 15 minutes and three minutes per individual. However, the Council can choose to extend your time.
"In that three minutes they can go shorter or have longer time if necessary to hear their issue if necessary if that issue is compelling," Councilman Markham said.