Meeting Terminology

Items from the Audience

Items from the Audience provides an opportunity for residents to address the Council regarding any issue, as allowed by law Speakers must sign their intention to speak on a sheet located at the entrance of the Council Chambers and limit comments to three (3) minutes.

The Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda consists of routine items for which a staff recommendation has been prepared, and which do not require further Council discussion. A Council member may ask questions about an item before the vote is taken or request that an item be removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the regular agenda for more detailed discussion. A single vote is taken to approve all items remaining on the Consent Agenda. Any items removed from the Consent Agenda are then voted on separately. 

Public Hearings

Public Hearings are held to receive public comment on important issues and/or issues requiring a public hearing by state statute. Residents wishing to comment will follow the same procedure as for “Items from the Audience,” and may speak after being recognized by the Mayor. After all persons have spoken, the hearing is closed to public comment. The Council then proceeds with deliberation and decision making.

Staff Reports

Staff Reports are presented to the Council by the department directors on issues that are of interest to the Council and do not require Council action.

The Ombud Report

The Ombud Report is made by the Council member who is serving as the Council’s representative in response to resident inquiries on Council policy and community matters. The Ombud designation rotates among Council members monthly.

The Council Committees of the Whole

The Council Committees of the Whole are created to advise the full Council on items coming before them in the areas of parks and human services; planning and public works; public safety; and finance, administration, and communications. Committees review policy matters in their work programs areas, as well as issues referred to them for additional study.

Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business consists of business or subjects returning to the Council for additional discussion or resolution.

New Business

New Business consists of subjects which have not previously been considered by the Council and which may require discussion and action.


Ordinances are legislative acts or local laws. They are the most permanent and binding form of Council action and may be changed or repealed only by a subsequent ordinance. Ordinances normally become effective five days after they are published in the City's official newspaper.


Resolutions are adopted to express Council policy or to direct certain types of administrative action. A resolution may be changed by the adoption of a subsequent resolution.

Quasi-Judicial Proceedings

Quasi-Judicial Proceedings are either closed record hearings (each side receiving ten [10] minutes maximum to speak) or public hearings (each speaker is allotted three [3] minutes each to speak). Proceedings are those in which the City Council determines the rights or privileges of specific parties (see, Council Rules of Procedure, Section IV., J).

Executive Sessions

Executive Sessions are meetings at which subjects such as property acquisition, contract bid negotiations, personnel issues, and litigation are discussed. Unlike regular and special meetings of the City Council, Executive Sessions are not open to the public.