City Implements Additional Public Commenting Options to Reduce COVID-19 Risk
DENTON, TX, March 27, 2020 – To protect the health and safety of the community, City Council members, and City staff members, the March 31 Denton City Council special-called meeting will have a remote format. The meeting will also be streamed online, broadcast on the Denton Television cable channels, and available on-demand.
In this format, the meeting will be hosted through a video-conferencing interface, and City Council members will connect to the meeting from different locations. To accommodate and receive input on agenda items, citizens will be able to participate in the following ways (NOTE: citizens are only able to comment one time per agenda item using one of the methods below):
Online comment form – On the afternoon of Friday, March 27, the agenda will be posted online at www.cityofdenton.com/publicmeetings. Once the agenda is posted, a link to a comment submission form will be made available under the main heading on the webpage. Within this comment form, citizens may indicate support or opposition, and submit comment about a specific agenda item. Similar to when a citizen submits a white card to indicate their position on the item, these comment forms will be sent directly to City Council members and recorded by the City Secretary, and the support/opposition will be entered into the record during the meeting. Comments may be submitted up until the start the meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. Online comments received after 1 p.m. will not be delivered to the City Council nor entered into the public record.
By phone – Citizens wishing to speak over the phone during this Council meeting, may call (940) 349-7800 when the meeting begins at 1 p.m. When the call is initially received, a staff member will receive the caller’s information and either, 1) offer to call the citizen back when it is time for them to speak, 2) record the caller’s information, support or opposition, and comment. If the caller wishes to receive a call back, the voice of each caller will be broadcast into the meeting during the public commenting time of their desired agenda item. Individuals will be able to comment once per agenda item.
In person – Citizens may request to speak on an agenda item in person at City Hall (215 E. McKinney St.). When each attendee arrives to the building, they will receive a number to determine the order of speakers. During their turn to speak, attendees will be asked to stand in front of a camera to be broadcast online and to the Council members.
To reinforce social distancing, those wishing to attend the meeting in-person will be seated in the City Council Chambers. Once this room is at capacity, no additional individuals will be allowed to enter the building. All persons entering City Hall will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure prior to entering the building. Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, the screening is identical to the screening used by the Denton Fire Department when responding to emergency calls, will be performed by City of Denton paramedics, and will involve screening for COVID-19 symptoms:
If a person exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, they will not be permitted to physically enter City Hall. These precautionary measures are to protect the health and safety of other in-person meeting attendees and limit the spread of COVID-19 at public gatherings, while providing residents the ability to participate in public meetings.
Unless otherwise announced, the remote public commenting opportunities (online comment form and phone call) will be available for future City Council meetings that require COVID-19 precautions.
The City will continue to release updates at www.cityofdenton.com/coronavirus and the City’s social media channels.
Contact: Ryan Adams, (940) 349-8565, Ryan.Adams@cityofdenton.com