The City Council is considering new rules of procedure that would help facilitate the timely flow of business.
At its business meetings, the City Council routinely considers items on the consent agenda, which consists of matters that require little or no deliberation among councilmembers. Zoning items and other public hearings can generate greater public interest. And there is the occasional agenda item with widespread interest that draws many residents to the Council Chamber.
Under the proposed rules:
- Public comment on any item in the consent agenda will be heard before the consent agenda is voted on. Each person who chooses to speak will have a maximum of three minutes to comment on as many items on the consent agenda as the person has properly signed up for. Speaker signup rules will remain unchanged.
- Public comment on the non-consent agenda will be heard before the non-consent agenda is voted on. Each person will have a maximum of three minutes to comment on as many items on the non-consent agenda as the person has properly signed up for.
- Speakers may still sign up to speak for three minutes per item during public hearings and zoning hearings.
- The mayor is the only member of the Council who can move an item from consent or non-consent agendas to be separated out and to allow a speaker three minutes to speak on that item.
The proposed new rules accomplish several goals: allow members of the public to be heard at the beginning of meetings; permit a maximum number of residents to engage on matters of public interest; and facilitate the orderly and timely flow of business meetings.
While researching these new rules, City staff benchmarked other similar-size cities to learn about their rules of procedure. The proposed changes will bring Fort Worth in line with other large cities in Texas. In fact, Fort Worth’s proposed rules are on the generous end in terms of allowing residents time to speak on agenda items.
The City Council is expected to vote on the new rules at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at City Hall, 200 Texas St.