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Agenda, Minutes & Ordinances

Minutes subject to council approval.

Council Meeting Public Participation Standards

Iowa Open Meetings Law gives the public the right to attend council meetings, but it does not require cities to allow public participation at such meetings unless a public hearing is required by state or local law.  However, most councils include, on their agendas, a time either at the beginning or end of the meeting to allow citizens the opportunity to make presentations or submit written statements or petitions to the council.  The council can receive public comments or information under this portion of the agenda but should refrain from taking any action or engaging in deliberation on that issue at that meeting (other than referring the matter for review to a committee or staff or directing the matter be placed on the agenda for a subsequent meeting).

Council action or deliberation on this matter should not occur until this item has been placed on an agenda for discussion or action at a subsequent meeting, in accordance with the Iowa Open Meeting Law requirements.  In some cities, citizens are permitted to comment on agenda items at the time they are being considered by council.  In those cases, persons speaking during the “citizen presentation” portion of the agenda should be limited to commenting about items or issues not on the printed agenda.  Some councils establish specific time limits for public comments, whether during the “citizen presentation” portion of the agenda, at public hearings, or when commenting on other topics on the agenda (if so allowed by the council).  The mayor has the responsibility for controlling the meeting and in so doing can hold citizens to the time allowed.  Caution should be exercised when limiting comment during public hearings due to the statutory requirement of public hearings in many contexts, but reasonable limits may be imposed.

 Old and New Council Business Standards

Some city councils have a section on their agendas listed as “old” and “new business”.  Old business addresses matters that have been previously discussed by the city council.  New business includes just about anything important to the city.  Old and new business are not considered appropriate headings for specific city council agenda items, because those terms cannot reasonably let the public know of the nature of an item being considered by the council, as required by the Iowa Open Meetings Law.


Code of Ordinances of the City of Palo, Iowa

Adopted August 2023, by Ordinance No. 59-2023