The Bellingham City Council has scheduled eight public comment sessions through the end of 2021, with the first one scheduled for Monday, September 20, as the Council tries new ways of engaging with the public.
The public comment sessions will be held at 7 p.m. on the Mondays when no regular City Council meeting is scheduled. The meetings, which will be held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions, are scheduled for:
- September 20
- October 4
- October 18
- November 1
- November 15
- November 29
- December 20
- December 27
Advance registration is not required to participate.
On August 30, the Council approved Council President Hannah Stone’s proposal to host separate sessions committed solely to public comment. (View the Aug. 30 Committee of the Whole discussion, approximately 7 minutes into the video).
Stone noted that at many City Council evening meetings during the past year, there has not been sufficient time to carry out required Council business while also hosting lengthy public comment periods, sometimes lasting an hour or more. She said limiting public comment periods to 15 minutes helped the Council complete its required business agenda but only allowed a limited number of people to speak. In an effort to improve communications and public engagement, the proposed public comment sessions will be held on weeks when there are no City Council regular meetings scheduled.
At this time, the public comment sessions will be held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each session will begin at 7 p.m. and each speaker will be provided three minutes for comment. The sessions will not be broadcast, filmed or replayed by the City. Each session will be led by Council President Stone, and she will be joined by two additional Council members on a rotating basis. Members of the public must be present in the meeting to participate and people are welcome to come to the meetings to listen without commenting.
The public comment sessions are one of many ways to communicate with the City Council, Stone added, including:
- For public hearings scheduled on a specific topic, sign up to provide live testimony during the hearing or provide written testimony through an online form.
- Provide written comments about any subject, as well as view other comments and share comments on social media, using the City’s Engage Bellingham public engagement platform.
- Email the full City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or email individual Council members using the contact information provided on the City Council website.
- Send letters to the City Council at Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham, WA 98225 or call (360) 778-8200.