Speak at a Meeting

Public Participation

All members of the public are encouraged and invited to participate in the legislative process of the City Council and the City's Boards and Commissions. You may participate in a variety of methods including the submission of comments or speaking in person at the scheduled meeting. View our Meeting Decorum. For information about how to submit written comments or to review meeting agendas, please visit the Public Meeting Portal.

Time Limits

  • Individual Speakers - 3 minutes
  • Organized group (in lieu of individual speakers) - up to 15 minutes, for a group presentation, as many speakers are allowed as fit in that time allowance
  • Applicant / Appellant - 15 minutes
  • Rebuttal by Applicant / Appellant - 5 minutes
  • The Mayor or Chair may, at his/her discretion, limit the amount of time allotted to the speaker(s) when needed

Organization of Meeting

The City Council/Board/Commission agenda is organized as follows:
  1. The agenda starts with consent and ceremonial items. All matters listed under the Consent Calendar are considered by the Council/Commission to be routine and will be enacted by one motion without discussion. If discussion is desired, that item may be removed and considered separately later in the meeting.
  2. Public Comment follows and gives members of the public the opportunity to comment on any item that does not appear on the agenda. Please fill out a speaker slip to address the Council/Commission. This open forum lasts for 15-minutes, and if not all speakers are heard within that time frame, the open forum will be continued at the end of the meeting.
  3. The remainder of the meeting is new business being addressed by the Council/Commission. The Mayor/Chair will provide the public with an opportunity to comment during each item of new business.

When to Speak

  • On any topic: After the consent calendar has been reviewed, there is an opportunity during Public Comment to address the Council/Commission on any topic that is not on the agenda.
  • On a specific agenda item: After the item has been presented and discussed by the Council/Commission, the Mayor/Chair will open the item for public comment.
  • Note: Under State law, the Council/Commission may not take action on matters raised under the Public Comment portion of the agenda, so they will not be able to discuss or respond to your comments. They may refer your request to City staff for administrative action, or it may be scheduled for a subsequent agenda. If you have any questions, please see the City Clerk.

Tips for Speakers

  • Use the microphone.
  • Clearly state your name for the record before addressing the Council/Commission.
  • Presentations should be clear and concise.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Be specific.
  • Groups and organizations that wish to speak are asked to designate one spokesperson whenever possible.
  • Traditionally, the Mayor is addressed as "Your Honor" or "Honorable Mayor" and the Council Members as "Honorable Council Members."
  • Address your remarks to the whole Council/Commission, rather than a specific member.
  • Listen to other people's concerns and issues throughout the meeting.
  • Please limit your comments so that everyone has a chance to address the Council/Commission.
  • Do not ask Council/Commission if anyone has questions. 
  • If your point has already been made by previous speakers, you may inform the Mayor that you do not need to speak by making a simple statement such as: "I do not wish to speak. My point has been made."