Sunday, December 10, 2023

BOCC public comment motion fails

Staff Writer | April 20, 2023 1:00 AM

The Bonner County commissioners earlier this week heavily discussed the rules and regulations regarding the hour-long public comment section that takes place before the regular business meeting on Tuesday morning.

The issue, which has been a recent point of contention among both commissioners and the public, was a repeated matter of discussion during the meeting. Both before and after, Commissioner Asia Williams made a motion to officially deem that the hour be formatted as a question-and-answer time, not just a comment period in which the commissioners do not respond to individual concerns. A five-minute time allotment was also proposed by Williams to allow multiple people the ability to voice their concerns.

“I want to provide some structure around that dialogue for efficiency,” she said.

Commissioner Steven Bradshaw heavily disagreed, saying he didn’t think a question-and answer-period would benefit most people, especially if answers start to run long and the five-minute period is not enough for some discussions.

“We gave them an hour and it's not called public interaction, it's called public comment,” he said. “The more lengthy our answers, the less time [the public has], and I'm not willing to take that time away from the community.”

Commissioner Luke Omodt reiterated that he felt policy made it very clear that commissioners were not to respond to every question asked during public comments but were to use the time to listen to concerns and have the potential to add those matters to future meeting agendas for discussion if needed.

Williams’ motion was not seconded and died on the floor.

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