Agendas for meetings are set based upon the need to address the business of the Council and/or City. Agendas must be posted prior to the meetings, and are set sometimes several days prior to the meeting taking place. Agenda items are determined based upon the Council's task list, prioritized assignments given to staff, and issues of business from citizens having filed applications based on the Code, City policies, state law, etc (such as a zone change applications, liquor license applications, street closure requests, etc.).
While meetings are open to the public, they are not considered public forums, and therefore, miscellaneous items typically are not added to any agenda for interactive discussion and/or action by the Council. For an item to be added to the agenda, the item must first be identified as bona fide City business which is within the scope of authority of the City and meets the City's goals, objectives, tasks and policies.
Many items the Council and other boards consider must, by law, be considered in a quasi-judicial manner, such as within a public hearing. This means that the individual Council or board members may not discuss the issue and/or hear evidence or receive testimony on the topic outside of the public hearing. To do so requires that member to excuse themselves from any debate or vote regarding the topic. Though this may be frustrating to a citizen, Council and board members may very well need to "cut off" any conversation regarding a topic that would be considered within a public hearing, and ask the citizen to please attend the public hearing to provide evidence or testimony of their position regarding the issue.
Contact the City Clerk
So, how do you know if an item is or would be going to public hearing? Citizens may first contact the City Clerk's Office for a determination if the topic of interest to the citizen would be required to be dealt with within a public hearing. If it is, the Clerk will be able to identify that process for the citizen, and the individual Council or board members may not discuss the issue with the citizen. They must await the topic coming before the Council in a public hearing at which only information received within the public hearing may be considered by the Council in making a decision.
Contact City Council Members
Citizens with a concern or issue upon which there is no provision within the Municipal Code, any other standing law, or which falls under the public hearing arena, will be advised that they should contact individual City Council members for a determination if the Council wishes to adopt a citizen's idea or concern as a task/priority of the City.