Gainesville City Commission approves changes to public comment

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Gainesville City Commissioners voted 6-1, Thursday, to approve changes to public comment at their meetings.

There will now be an early public comment period to start the meeting where citizens can talk about one agenda item for 3 minutes or multiple items for 5 minutes.

If they participate in the early public comment, they will be waiving their right to speak at the rest of the meeting.

"The vast majority of the changes are adding opportunities for the public to engage…" said Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe. "You can come at the beginning of the meeting or the beginning of the evening session and talk about an item to the commission, and then go home. That helps working folk and families."

People will also have to pre-register to participate in public comment, although Mayor Poe says the registration deadline is still being decided.

The proposal also includes more options for adding public comment to agenda items.

"You can do it online, and it will be able to be read by anybody in the public with that agenda item, you can send an email, and we will include that in the public record on the item, and you can send a good old-fashion snail mail letter," said Mayor Poe.

Some residents showed up to Thursday's city commission meeting to voice their disapproval of these changes.