by CESAR SALAZAR

 

After some delays, Winonans could soon be able to provide commentary at City Council meetings by fall, something many citizens and city officials have been asking for.

“We’re looking to do a pre-council informational session on August 15 where we would bring in the draft of the policies and procedures and get final council consensus on it at the meeting,” City Clerk Monica Hennessy Mohan said.

Public commentary was originally planned to be discussed in June after being voted on and passed by the council in April, but was delayed due to other project deadlines for the city, according to Mohan. The topic also isn’t being brought up on August 1 due to the absence of the city manager.

Despite the setback, Mayor Scott Sherman reassures Winonons that allowing public comments has and will continue to be a priority to him. Sherman brought up the topic in the summer of last year. He also said that he doesn’t intend to rush or pressure his staff on any topics and that the city has many factors to consider in all the different topics presented.

Mohan declined to share a draft of the policy. “It’s not ready for public review yet,” Mohan said. “We’ll have it ready for the August 15 council meeting.”

In the past, the City Council requested that city staff look at how the council would take and listen to comments, including comments via Zoom, and whether citizens would need to sign up before the meeting to provide a comment.

“One of the questions raised … were concerns about violent language or things like that,” Council member Eileen Moeller said at the April 4 council meeting. She continued, “I think having clear rules about how this works is a really great guideline but if folks do have safety concerns, I don’t want that to get lost in the shuffle.”

If the City Council gives the draft its blessing in August, a final vote to approve it could take place on September 6 and the first public comment period could be held on September 19, Mohan said.

Local@winonapost.com