Apopka's City Council meetings have always provided an opportunity for citizens to speak their mind on any topic.
Unfortunately to exercise your First Amendment right, "... to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," you had to wait until nearly the end of the meeting. This often meant waiting for several hours while the Council moved deliberately through its agenda.
Wednesday's Council meeting was typical. Members of the public had to wait 2 hours and 20 minutes before being allowed to step to the podium for their allotted four minutes.
The first 17 minutes were used to deal with several "routine" items that involved little, if any, discussion:
The first agenda item with discussion and public input was the approval of new Recreation Youth Sports League fees (35 minutes).
Six proposed Ordinances and one Resolution were then discussed and voted on next (27 minutes).
Two Final Development Plans were then reviewed and approved (20 minutes)
A 35 minute presentation on how to improve the Development Review process came next, followed by a well-needed 5 minute break.
After the break the City's CPA firm, Moore Stephens Lovelace, made a 24 minute presentation of the City's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.
The approved Public Participation Resolution moves the public comment period to immediately after the Presentations portion of the meeting. Had the new policy been in place last Wednesday the public comments would have happened 2 hours earlier.
The "upgrade" only applies to comments being made about topics not on the meeting agenda. Those wishing to address items on the agenda will have to wait until that item is brought before the City Council.
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