Dubuque to Discuss Changes to Public Input at Council Meetings

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG TV9) -- On Monday, The Dubuque City Council will discuss possible changes to when the public is allowed to speak during city council meetings.

The Dubuque City Council meets Feb. 15, 2016.

Under current city ordinance, anyone in the audience at a council meeting is allowed to speak during the public hearing portion of the meeting. Then at the very end of the meeting, the public is also allowed to talk about any topic that's not on that night's agenda. Citizens are not allowed to address the council during the council's discussion of action items.

New city council member Luis Del Toro requested the city council discuss the changes to the public input process. He says he wants to move the public input portion of the meeting to the very beginning of the meeting. That way, citizens don't have to wait through long meetings in order to make their opinions known to the council.

He also says citizens should be allowed to come to the podium and address the council during discussion of any agenda item.

"As city representatives, we represent the citizens of Dubuque. And I think it's very important that we stay open to how they feel about different items and I don't think they should be limited to what agenda items they can or can't speak to," said Del Toro.

Del Toro says citizens should still be required to keep their comments under a time limit, probably between three and five minutes.

Dubuque Mayor Roy Buol, who runs the city council meetings, says the current public input structure is fine the way it's currently set up. However, he says he is open to listening to suggestions for change in the public input at meetings, as long as there are some parameters.