A Silent Voice

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The Rockford City Council is one step away from a public comment period at their meetings. Monday night, city alderman will vocalize their vote to decide if the community will be able to speak.

Hearing from the general public isn't un-common. Winnebago County officials do. Often times at Rockford school board meetings there is a long list of speakers the board hears from, but a public input session would be a first for the Rockford City Council. Fifth Ward Alderman Victory Bell says he understands the public wants the right to feel that it’s their government.

Addressing the council does have limitations. Five people at each meeting would be able to speak for three minutes. No personnel attacks are allowed. Also no discussion of zoning will be allowed.

Rockford city aldermen say they make themselves available to the constituents they represent, but some taxpayers want to address the full council and not just one alderman. Republican alderman David Johnson brought up a public input session before. At that time the ideas was voted down. Last Monday, the revamped version of the public speaking ordinance passed codes and regulations.

Those who want to speak will have to submit an outline about their three-minute speech prior to the City Council meeting.