More Ideas Coming to Change Public Input

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Last week– Sioux Falls City Council members discussed moving public input to the end of meetings.

Many believe a change needs to be made– after recent instances of vulgar outbursts and profanity. But moving it was met with community backlash, and it’s not getting full support from the council, so now there are two new proposals.

Sioux Falls Council Chambers has seen many passionate citizens due to moving general public input. This is the session that starts the meeting and anyone can discuss any topic.

“Please, please keep the citizens input at the beginning of the city council meetings,” says Sioux Falls June Staggers.

No proposal has gained unanimous support so two more ideas are being presented.

One is from newly-elected councilor Janet Brekke. Public input alternates from the start of meetings to the end every other month.

Another proposal is a compromise. Public input stays at the beginning of meetings, but there’s a 30-minute time limit, and speakers’ time is reduced from five minutes to three.

After two hours of public input last week Mayor Paul TenHaken says this compromise accommodates the public’s concerns including keeping it at the start and not needing as much time.

“So this addresses those, so I think it’s a really great proposal and an ordinance that I hope the council brings forward and adopts,” says TenHaken

Councilor Marshall Selberg says tightening the time allows council members and the public to get to agenda items faster.

“We are going to hear from folks and it’s going to have people more on topic of what’s going on for the evening since we’re also extending that to where people can speak before a first ordinance. They weren’t able to do that before,” says Selberg.

Selberg says public input at meetings is only 10% of the input the councilors receive. He along with TenHaken stress that there are numerous channels to reach them.

“Hopefully people realize that even these small changes we  may make in public input does not stifle citizen voices with talking with your elected officials,” says TenHaken.

The public can voice their opinions on this issue Tuesday night at the city council meeting before the first round of voting.

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