Appearing Before the Council

Guidelines


City Council Workshops
The purpose of a City Council workshop is to provide a forum for City Council and City staff members to discuss and possibly take action on various subjects related to City operations, projects, and planning. Members of the City's Commissions, Boards, and/or Committees may also be present to discuss various subjects with City Council and City staff. Citizens are welcome to attend the Workshops; however, there will be no public comment opportunity at the Workshops. If citizens have comments or questions for City Council or City staff, they may attend a Regular City Council meeting and sign up to speak during the Public Comment section of the agenda. Citizens are also welcome to communicate with City Council members and/or City staff outside of public meetings by contacting City Hall.

Regular City Council Meetings
Although Texas Law does not provide for an opportunity for citizens to participate in local government meetings, the City of Horseshoe Bay believes citizens have every right to participate in Regular City Council meetings, and we encourage citizens to do so. Regular City Council meeting agendas have time set aside for Public Comment near the beginning of the meeting, and there are additional public comment opportunities on the agenda if a particular item requires a public hearing by law. 

Signing Up to Speak
Citizens wishing to speak during a Regular City Council meeting must write their name and the agenda topic they wish to speak about on the Request to Speak form PRIOR to 3:00 pm when the meeting begins. The Request to Speak sign-in form will be available in the Council Chambers on the podium by the entrance, next to the agendas, prior to the meeting. If you do not sign up to speak prior to the start of the meeting, you may not have an opportunity to speak. Citizens are not allowed to speak openly during the meeting unless first recognized by the presiding officer. When the presiding officer calls their name, citizens may speak for 3 minutes. If you would like to provide a presentation or speak longer than 3 minutes, please contact the City Secretary's office at least two (2) business days prior to the start of the meeting to make arrangements. 

Providing Written Comments/Documents to City Council
Citizens are also encouraged to provide written comments to the City Council regarding any agenda item prior to the start of the meeting. Providing your comments in writing prior to the meeting may allow you to be more thorough in your comments than time will allow at a City Council meeting, and will also allow the Council Members time to study the comments before the meeting.  All written comments or other documents you would like to provide to the Council Members should be emailed to the City Secretary no later than 5:00 pm on the Thursday prior to the following Tuesday City Council meeting, which is when agenda packets are delivered to Council Members
. If you wish to bring hard-copies of documents to the meeting to be given to Council Members, you must bring 10 copies and provide them to the City Secretary (not the Mayor or Council Members) prior to the start of the meeting. In accordance with the Open Meetings Act, documents cannot be accepted by the Council Members directly. The City Secretary will ensure the Mayor, City Manager, City Attorney and the Council Members each receive a copy. If fewer than 10 copies are provided to the City Secretary, the document may not be provided to Council Members until after the meeting when sufficient copies can be made for each member. 

When to Speak
If you wish to speak on an item that is on the agenda under the Public Hearing section, please wait to speak until that item is addressed by City Council and you are recognized by the presiding officer. If you wish to speak about an item on the agenda that is not in the Public Hearing section or on an item that is not on the agenda, you will have an opportunity to do so during the Public Comment section when your name is called, if you sign up to speak prior to the start of the meeting. 

Please remember that during public comment, in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Council Members are prohibited from answering questions (other than to make statements of fact or to recite existing policy), discussing issues raised by citizens, or taking any action on any item that is not on the agenda for that meeting. Issues raised may be referred to staff for research and possible future action.
Groups of citizens from the same organization or group are asked to consolidate their message and share 10 minutes to address the Council on specific agenda items. The spokesperson for the organization or group should indicate the organization or group name on the Request to Speak form and request ten minutes. Citizens cannot "donate" their 3 minutes to another individual to allow that person to speak longer than 3 minutes.

Rules for Speaking during Public Comment/Hearings:

1. Members of the public may address the City Council at the following times during a Regular meeting:

a) During the Public Comment section of the agenda after your name is called by the presiding officer (usually the Mayor), if you have signed up to speak on the Request to Speak form prior to the start of the meeting. 
b) During the Public Hearing section of the agenda when the presiding officer opens the public hearing and calls your name, if you have signed up to speak on the Request to Speak form prior to the start of the meeting. 
c) When the presiding officer invites you to speak. 

2. Speakers must go to the podium and state their name and address for the record, prior to making their comments. Please speak clearly into the microphone so everyone in the room can hear you.

3. Speakers must address all comments to the presiding officer; not to the audience or staff members. 

4. Speakers must limit their comments to three minutes. You may be allowed to speak longer at the discretion of the presiding officer. 

5. Speakers must not employ tactics of defamation, intimidation, personal affronts, profanity, yelling, or threats of violence. Anyone         who demonstrates these behaviors will be removed from the Council Chambers. 

6. Members of the audience are not allowed to speak out of turn or to interrupt the Mayor, Council Members, staff, or other speakers when they are speaking. If you would like to comment, please sign up to speak and wait until the presiding officer calls your name and you will have an equal opportunity to be heard. We welcome and encourage citizens to participate during the Public Comment/Hearing section of the meeting; however, out of respect for everyone in attendance, any disruptions will result in the offending party being removed from the Council Chambers.

Please remember to mute phones or other devices before entering the Council Chambers out of respect for everyone in attendance. If you need to have a conversation with someone, please step outside in order to avoid disrupting the meeting or preventing others from being able to hear the proceedings. 

Thank you!