‘Council Connect’ makes its debut

Council Connect, a new citizen engagement tool related to public comment at Amarillo City Council, kicked off tonight. The forum will provide individuals an opportunity once a month to discuss topics directly with two councilmembers.

“The new format will greatly increase the availability of councilmembers at times and locations that are convenient to the public,” said Amarillo City Manager Jared Miller. “The new format (Council Connect) allows councilmembers to actively engage and have a conversation with citizens.”

According to the Texas Open Meetings Act, councilmembers are extremely limited in how they can respond to citizens during public comment. Council Connect addresses this issue by having two councilmembers present (which is not a quorum) to discuss issues with citizens in less restrictive environment that is more conducive to a productive dialogue.

Council Connect will also be available in the evenings to increase public participation.

The public will also be able to address the council during the regularly-scheduled council meetings at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. Citizens will have three minutes to address items specifically related to the weekly city council agenda.