The Murfreesboro city council hashed out details with the city attorney Thursday night, in regards to a new process for citizen comment at future meetings. Prior to this, the only time when the public was given the floor to speak was in public hearings on a specific agenda item. This new system would allow citizens to speak more freely on a wider range of topics. Several of the agreed upon parameters suggested by council include:
1. The citizen comment period will take place during the first meeting of each month, on whichever week that happens to fall.
2. Notification of the citizen comment period at said meeting will be advertised.
3. Each citizen will be granted 3 minutes of speaking time for individuals, and 5 minutes if they are speaking on behalf of a group.
4. Emails and call-ins sent to city staff ahead of time from citizens voicing their wish to speak will be given priority at the meeting. Citizens who did not sign up in advance will speak only after those signed up have finished. As with public hearings, name and address will need to be given by all speakers.
5. It is not a requirement that the citizen be a resident of Murfreesboro to be allowed to speak.
6. The topics discussed must be something over which the city has jurisdiction, however, can not pertain to public hearing subject matter. Comments on a public hearing issue must be held for during the public hearing only.
7. No personal attacks, obscene language, or threatening language will be allowed.
8. Handouts to council, and/or electronic presentations are permitted within technology and time constraints.
As of this time, no firm date has been given for when the first citizen comment session will be held, but as stipulated, notice of said meeting will be advertised by the city beforehand.
Among other issues discussed at the meeting, annexation and zoning of an area located along Old Fort Parkway/Franklin Road has been deferred until the next council meeting following the 4th of July holiday, the Indian Hills rezoning for a new restaurant along S. Church Street, so hotly contested at last week’s meeting, was passed upon second reading, and one public hearing was conducted to consider to consider a PRD Amendment and rezoning application for approximately 1.14 acres located along Old Lascassas Highway. The Murfreesboro Water and Sewer budget, Stormwater Utility Management Fund, city schools budget, and budget for Evergreen Cemetery were all approved upon first reading, and the Appropriations Ordinance, Tax Rate Ordinance, and overall 2013-2014 city budget were all approved upon third and final reading, making them official. The Parks & Recreation Director opened bids for the Old Fort Park Indoor Tennis Complex, and gave an update on the progress of a new indoor tennis facility at MTSU, which progress indicates could be completed by February of next year.