Aurora City Council opts to keep unlimited public comment during meetings

Aurora Sentinel: City lawmakers say residents can take their time.

The public invited to be heard portion of Aurora City Council meetings will not be limited to a half hour — which was recently proposed in an update of council rules.

The council made the decision at a study session Monday night.

Instead, the council opted to keep the unlimited time, but cut off accepting speaker slips at 7:30 p.m. when the meeting starts — one meeting attendee noted later during public comment that three council members weren’t even present in the chamber at 7:30 p.m., adding the rule seemed unfair, especially for people who may struggle to get to meetings right on schedule.

Council members considered allowing a half-hour or one-hour public comment hour at the beginning of the meeting and then letting any additional commenters take an unlimited amount of time at the end of the meeting, but those proposals gained little support.

“This is our public dialogue and discourse and the only place our residents have to address us in public on the record,” Councilwoman Allison Hiltz said. “I don’t want to take that away because it’s very empowering.”

Hiltz said she doesn’t mind meetings that last well into the early morning hours — a meeting last month went until 1:30 a.m. due to comment on a specific agenda item — because it means that the public is engaged.

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