11 p.m. That’s what time the Snohomish city council meeting on Jan. 16 ended, two hours past the scheduled end time.
Because of the citizen comments on every agenda item.
The council discussed stopping the citizen comments on discussion items and instead allow them only on action items at council meetings — with a new and better opportunity to learn about and discuss all upcoming agenda topics at Town Halls.
There were a few loud citizen comments (of course) that didn’t like that idea. However, as a full time working parent of two young children, as are many in the community, I can’t be at council meetings until 11 p.m. In fact, the crowd that stayed that late were mostly older citizens or those heavily invested the meetings. The majority of the crowd left before hearing about the exciting news of walkability and biking improvements to Second Street and the new community outreach officer.
Encouraging open conversation and citizen comments at Town Halls will allow the city council to listen to citizen comments, discuss and spend quality time thinking about the topic and community input prior to a council meeting, where they can then efficiently and confidently conduct business at council meetings.
I encourage citizens to support shorter, more productive and well-informed council meetings by limiting citizen comments at council meetings to action items only and hold accessible Town Halls dedicated to public comment on discussion items.