Council invites citizens to participate remotely at next regular meeting

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Kerrville City Council has a regular meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 24. The council regularly meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. But the upcoming meeting’s procedures will be drastically altered in accordance with CDC recommendations to maintain social distance. The meeting will make use of video-conferencing and telephonics to allow the public to participate. The meeting room and city hall are closed to the public at this time.

These “virtual meeting” steps are necessary to ensure compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, which “does not contemplate an instance where a governing body meeting might be completely virtual to avoid further spread of COVID-19,” according to the city’s agenda publication. Texas Governor Greg Abbott suspended certain open-meeting statutes on March 16.

…on March 16, 2020, the Texas Governor suspended certain requirements of the Open Meetings Act to permit open meetings to occur in a fully virtual setting (e.g., telephonic or videoconference meeting).

City Council Agenda for March 24

Agenda and Instructions

City staff released the meeting agenda on Friday afternoon and included over two pages of instructions for how the meeting will be conducted. See the agenda below.

3-24-20 Kerrville City Council Meeting by Aaron Yates on Scribd

How it will work

The City is using technology provided by Zoom.us, a video and telephone conferencing solution that has been widely adopted during the current crisis. This system allows participation via video or phone, but it appears that the city will allow the public to participate only via telephone for Tuesday night’s meeting.

Options for participating on Tuesday night:

  • Hard copy of written comments must be dropped off at the utility payment drop-box at City Hall by 5:45 PM Tuesday. Must include first name, last name, address, and which item you’d like to comment on.
  • Email comments to shelley.mcelhannon@kerrvilletx.gov by 5:45 PM on Tuesday. Must include first name, last name, address, and which item you’d like to comment on.
  • Call one of two numbers via telephone between 5:00-5:45 PM on Tuesday. Phone numbers: 877-853-5247 or 888-788-0099 and enter meeting ID 527-143-502#.

The meeting will be streamed as it usually is on the city’s website, and a recording of the meeting will be posted on the city’s YouTube channel just like normal. The technical aspects of the meeting will be challenging, as this is new for staff, council, and participants. The city asks for patience as this system is tried out on the fly.

References