Public Input At Sioux Falls City Council: Catching Up With The Public

KELO City Hall

It got a little heated at Tuesday night’s Sioux Falls City Council meeting when discussions over the placement of public input led to a long meeting. It got so late, KELOLAND News wasn’t able to share some of the testimony from those who spoke.

So, we tracked down some of those same people Wednesday to get their opinions on when they think public input should happen.

June Staggers, married to longtime city councilor Kermit Staggers, wants public input to stay where it is.

“Yes very much so,” Staggers said. “I’m very pleased when that happens because I can see the community get involved. It’s not just the city council, the city employees.”

When it comes to possibly moving public input to later in the agenda, Ron Flynn empathizes with each side.

“I guess I can see it both ways, but, if you’re going to have it at the beginning, you have to set certain limits,” Flynn said. “And I think that would help a lot if the people that want to speak let the council know what it is they want to speak about.” 

“I do believe that the public meeting should start with the agenda, without public input, as its first item,” former city councilor Anne Hajek said. “Now, public input may be an item that they do at 6:30.”

Hajek and Flynn like the idea of keeping an eye on the clock.

“I think either later in the meeting, or if they were to be able to set up a time slot and be it a half hour, they talked about that last night, even the people that were in favor of it, and there were wonderful comments, but a 30 minute. Five minutes for any talk is way too long,” Hajek said.

Flynn says he’d like to see it moved to later in the meeting…if…

“If it’s going to be a deal where they’re going to carry on for an hour, yes,” Flynn said. “If it would be something where the public could have their input and be done with it in 15 or 20 minutes, I don’t think that it probably would have even become an agenda item.” 

“I love the input,” Staggers said. “I learned a lot about the city. I learned about the people, and myself included, that it was easier for us, the general public, to come at the beginning of the meeting rather than the end.”

The council voted four to three Tuesday night. Councilor Christine Erickson was not present, so there were just seven votes. Next Tuesday there will be a second reading of the ordinance which could move public input to later in the city council meeting agenda. 

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