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Bylaws   Item #
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
C-1091-19 - First and Second Readings - Council Procedure Bylaw Amendment - Time Limits - Frostad
Strategic Vision Element:
This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan
Request for Decision Summary
Administration is in the process of reviewing agenda and meeting management processes. As part of this review, an amendment to C-724-09 - Council Procedure Bylaw to implement time limits for individuals and groups presenting to Council, is being brought forward for Council's consideration.
That first reading be given to Bylaw C-1091-19 - Council Procedure Bylaw Amendment.
That second reading be given to Bylaw C-1091-19 - Council Procedure Bylaw Amendment.
As we are working to transition ourselves to a mid-sized city, the City Clerk’s Office is reviewing agenda and meeting processes in an effort to modernize and increase transparency, fairness, and efficiency. During this comprehensive review, the City Clerk’s Office will be looking to strengthen and provide clarity around processes, including how information is provided to Council, how the public presents to Council, and how Council moves its agenda forward (i.e. through Notice of Motions).
The first proposal for Council’s consideration is the implementation of time limits for speakers/presenters during Council Meetings. As we are growing, the issues Council is being asked to address are increasing in volume and complexity, often resulting in lengthy meetings. Implementing a time limit for speakers is a procedural change that will improve meeting efficiencies and ensure fairness of process for the speakers. The current Procedure Bylaw does not set a time limit for speakers who present during Public Question and Answer Period or as delegations, which is unusual compared to other procedural bylaws across the province.
Administration is recommending that a maximum of five minutes be allotted to those presenting to Council, either through public hearings, public question and answer period, or delegations. Presenters may enhance their presentations by providing a supplemental report and/or PowerPoint presentation in advance, or by circulating copies during the meeting. Five minutes is plenty of time to make an argument or present on an issue if the speaker is prepared.
In order to implement time limits, Administration is exploring an interim solution of displaying a timer onto a screen near the recording secretary, so it is visible to Administration and Council. New electronic meeting management software systems offer timers embedded within the software, and this will be looked at as part of our Corporate Plan initiative for Implementation of Electronic Meeting Management Software in 2020.
Council may choose not to amend the Procedural Bylaw to incorporate time limits, or may recommend further changes in advance of third reading.
Administration reviewed procedural bylaws from the municipalities of a population greater than 35,000 including the Cities of Airdrie, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Red Deer and St. Albert and Specialized Municipalities of Strathcona County and Wood Buffalo. The bylaws of our regional partners, Parkland County and Stony Plain were also reviewed.
The research suggests that of municipalities surveyed:
Eight municipalities set maximum time limits at 5 minutes
Two municipalities set general limits at 5 minutes and allowed additional 5-10 minutes for delegations (Medicine Hat, Stony Plain)
Two municipalities set time limits at 10 minutes (Red Deer, Parkland County)
If first and second reading are approved and no further direction or research is required, third reading will be given at the September 23, 2019 Regular Council Meeting.
Upon passage of C-1091-19 - Council Procedure Bylaw Amendment, the City’s website will be updated, and the City Clerk’s Office will work to continually communicate the new procedural information to the public.
Implementing time limits will improve the efficiency and fairness of our Council meeting proceedings, and will align the City of Spruce Grove’s procedures around time limits with the majority of other comparable municipalities across Alberta.
The City Clerk’s Office is working with Information Systems to utilize existing technology within Council Chambers from our inventory and therefore it is anticipated that there will be little, if any, cost to this process change.