DeWitt County now has an established policy regarding public comments to the County Board and its committees.
Thursday night the full Board voted 11 to 1 to adopt a resolution that outlines a specific procedure in regards to accepting public comments. It's the first such procedure adopted by the county. The measure was adopted following lengthy discussion and several amendments to the original resolution brought before the board. Some of the major components are limiting each speaker to five minutes and limiting the total public comment time to 30 minutes. Both of which could be extended by the Chair. Member Dana Evans was one of several to lobby for the five minute time limit as opposed to the three minute limit included in the original proposal.
[audio:922countyboard1.mp3]A Word From Evans[/audio]
Another major part of the new policy gives the Board Chair the authority to curtail a speaker during a public comment if the speaker is repeating prior comments. The speaker being cut off would have the ability to appeal to the full board. Member Ed Young believes that right to an appeal is needed to limit some of the Chair's authority.
[audio:922countyboard2.mp3]A Word From Young[/audio]
The new policy also eliminates the publics opportunity to speak before the Board if they are not listed on the posted agenda for the meeting. Young feels that gives the Board a better idea on what to expect during public comments.
[audio:922countyboard3.mp3]A Word From Young[/audio]
Member Sherrie Brown was the lone vote against the resolution. She first objected to its consideration, but was unanimously over-ruled. She then abstained from voting on any of the amendments, and says the policy is a quote - "bad idea."
[audio:922countyboard4.mp3]A Word From Brown[/audio]
With its approval, the new policy goes into effect immediately at all DeWitt County Board and committee meetings.
In other action Thursday night, the DeWitt County Board...
> approved a special use permit for Eon Climate and Renewables to construct a meteorological tower in southern DeWitt County to explore the feasibility of a future wind farm project.
> approved a bid of 550-thousand dollars by Buchanan Communications to proceed with the county's plan to meet federal narrow band radio guidelines. The county has secured grants that will bring down its estimated costs to just over 241-thousand dollars.