Two weeks after a meeting during which League City council members sparked ire by pushing public comments two hours behind other business, the city council took steps to stop that from happening again.
From now on, the public comment segment of the city council meetings will take place before consideration, deliberation or action on any business item.
League City council members voted 6-1 Tuesday to approve the new policy as part of its rules of procedure. Councilman Dan Becker voted against it. Mayor Pat Hallisey was absent.
Council members Hank Dugie and Greg Gripon introduced the item.
“It makes total sense,” Councilman Nick Long said.
The title of Section 4 of the rules of procedure has changed with the vote from “Rules for speakers” to “Public comments.”
Under the new policy, council members can’t suspend the rules to push other council business ahead of the public comments, Dugie said.
At the beginning of the Sept. 26 council meeting, Becker moved to suspend the rules to allow a presentation from Ike Dike proponents and a discussion about tax reappraisal logistics with county officials to go first.
“There’s some folks here that have worked very hard on these items that I think would like to address the public and the council,” Becker said at the Sept. 26 meeting. “These items are related to the storm and have great public interest.”
The Ike Dike presentation took 20 minutes and the tax reappraisal discussion turned into a 99-minute debate resulting in the council delaying any action until Tuesday when the council decided not to ask for tax reappraisals. Other presentations and business took about another 30 minutes before public comments began. Many people who attended the meeting to talk about flooded homes or the city’s tax rate had left by that point.
The Sept. 26 meeting started at 6 p.m. and ended at 10:35 p.m.