The current policy of the Peachtree City Council, which prohibits citizens from speaking on agenda items during public comment, is an unnecessary restriction of citizen input. While it is commendable that the mayor and council are increasing the time allotted for public comment from 2 to 3 minutes, it is not a complete solution.
The current policy, as stated in the ordinance, outlines that “Comments on agenda items on that night’s agenda will not be permitted during the public comment portion of the agenda.” While this may be reasonable for items with a designated public hearing, it results in the exclusion of citizen engagement and input on agenda topics without such provisions.
As a citizen, it is disheartening to see that our voices are not being heard on important matters that affect our community. During a council meeting, the items on the agenda are arguably the most critical issues to be discussed since they are potentially being decided that night.
Therefore, it is crucial that the mayor and council listen to the concerns and opinions of citizens.
The current policy deprives citizens of their right to be heard and hinders their participation in the decision-making process. Making changes to the ordinance in this regard would greatly improve the representation of citizens in the decision-making process.
I urge the council to take this matter seriously and make the necessary changes to their policies to ensure that the voices of citizens are heard. I also encourage anyone who agrees with this change to reach out in a professional manner to let the Mayor and Council know how you feel.
Keep in mind, the current wording of the ordinance may limit citizens’ ability to speak about this during the public comment that evening.
As a community, we should work towards ensuring that every citizen’s voice is heard and their concerns are taken into account. I hope the Mayor and City Council take this matter seriously and take action to make positive changes in our community.
Peachtree City, Ga.
[Phil Crane was a candidate for council last fall.]