Citizens may now speak up earlier at county meetings

Community members now have a chance to make their thoughts known to the commissioners sooner rather than later.

At the recent county commission meeting, the motion to move public comments up the agenda so they will be heard earlier in the county meetings became a topic of discussion as did the way public comments are handled before the county commission.

Mayor Gary Cordell said the legislative committee discussed the procedure for public comments. Those from the general public wanting to speak before the board will have to sign in on a sign-up sheet at the door before the meeting starts. Anyone who signs up must be a Coffee County resident and their comment must be related to what’s on the agenda. Agendas are available for anyone who attends the meeting.  Each person is allowed to speak for two minutes and public comments will only be 20 minutes.

As for the chance that someone from Coffee County would try to address the commission, Commissioner Tim Stubblefield said that when someone comes up to speak they should state their name and address. Stubblefield did mention the possibility of someone lying about their residence but noted, “I’m sure they can give you a false address but that’s put on their honor.” He finished by saying the guidelines should be on the sign-up sheet for anyone to see.

 Commissioner Ashley Kraft agreed with Stubblefield and said for council meetings in Nashville they have residents say their name and address before making a comment. 

“That’s how it is done for large cities with 40 council members so that’s definitely how it should be done here,” said Kraft.

Commissioner Missy Deford asked if residents who have property in the county but don’t live in the county would be allowed to make public comment.  Cordell said they would have to announce they have property in the county when speaking to the commission. 

Before the vote was cast Cordell made clear to the commission that the vote was for the motion of moving Public Comment up the agenda and the procedure for Public Comment wouldn’t be part of the motion.

The final vote to move Public Comment up the agenda passed unanimously.

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