The Silence is Over

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Say good-bye to the silent voice at Rockford City Council meetings. For the first time, Rockford residents will be able to address alderman and city officials at one meeting.

A public participation time isn't a new concept to go before the council. Letting the public speak was first brought up in April. Alderman David Johnson who is a Republican initially brought public participation to the council. In April it was the democrats who kept the community quiet by voting down the ordinance.

Two weeks ago Democratic Alderman Victory Bell brought the resolution to the council again. This is the exact same resolution that failed in April. This time Republicans and Democrats are all in favor of allowing the public to speak. The concept is still the same five people are allowed to speak for three minutes each. This is a first come first serve basis.

During the public input time no attacks against council members are allowed. There is also no talking about any zoning issues. With a unanimous vote the only details now to work out is the wording. Alderman Linda McNeely says there are some discrepancies in what came before the council in April and what was agreed to now.

One last final vote is all that’s needed to make this an ordinance and enter the city’s law books. That should come in the next couple of weeks. By mid July there will most likely be more than just alderman standing up making points.