Friendswood City Council approved some changes to how it will carry out its meetings but opted to maintain the same amount of time for public hearing comments.

The full story

Friendswood allows five minutes for residents to speak at a public hearing and three minutes for general public comment, city officials said at the meeting.

An item brought to City Council originally would have reduced the time for public hearing comments to three minutes to make it consistent with the amount of time residents have for general public comment, which don’t have to be related to a topic on the agenda of a respective meeting.

City staff said a canvass of cities nearby showed its common for cities to have the same amount of time for residents on both public comment and public hearings.

However, some city council members said they were fine with leaving it at five minutes.

Regardless of the policy, the mayor has the ability to extend a person’s speaking time, according to city documents.

Quote of note

Council member Joe Matranga said he felt keeping it at five minutes wouldn’t make much of a difference in how long the meetings go for.

“I still think we ought to leave it at five minutes,” Matranga said. “I think it gives everybody who’s nervous at the podium, gives them a chance to really make their points.”

What else?

According to agenda documents, other changes include needing at least four city council votes for a number of actions, including:
  • Extending a city council meeting beyond 10:30 p.m.
  • Vacancies
  • Expelling a person from a meeting if the mayor fails to act
  • Suspend the Rules of Procedure
  • Object to the consideration of an item
  • Call the question if a vote is necessary
The mayor can also appoint and seek council confirmation for ad hoc committees, according to agenda documents.