Welcome back to our age-friendly City Council 101 Blog Series! In this final part of our series, we will be discussing the types of meetings that City Council holds. These meetings are where city council members make a number of important decisions. We will also be explaining what committees are and the different types.
There are a variety of meetings when it comes to city government:
- City Council Meetings
- Committee Meetings
- Public Hearings (meetings where citizens can share their opinions on specific topics that city council members are discussing and making decisions on.)
Committees can be thought of as focused workgroups. They make recommendations to city council and approve contracts and agreements. However, their main purpose is policy development and hearing from the public. Typically, they’re made up solely of Councillors, the mayor is a member of all Standing Committees. As well, all councillors may attend any committee meeting and participate in debates but only committee members may make motions or vote.
- Bylaws are municipal laws passed by City Council
- Policies are guiding documents passed by City Council
Types of Committees:
- Community and Public Services Committee: Delivery of City services – including neighborhoods and communities, social development, recreational activities and facilities, cultural and social programs, emergency services, and municipal enforcement.
- Examples of report topics: Cannabis, raves, safety, Arts Council/Heritage Council grant recommendations
- Emergency Advisory Committee: Reviews the Municipal Emergency Plan, and related plans and programs on a regular basis and has specific powers delegated to it in the event of a local emergency. We see this committee in action each week (every Thursday) during these times of COVID-19 to renew our State of Local Emergency and to discuss any new changes.
- Executive Committee: Financial and corporate issues – including governance, communications, and public engagement, City budgets, financial and economic management, taxation, intergovernmental affairs, financial and economic issues related to real estate and housing, and implementation of City infrastructure projects.
- Examples of report topics: Tax policy and economic development
- Urban Planning Committee: Sustainable City planning – including growth, development, and management of the city, urban transportation, infrastructure (buildings), parks, environmental, housing and real estate planning, and community engagement for urban planning.
- Examples of report topics: Gondola, planning, parking, and transit-oriented development
What happens in a meeting?
- Select items for debate
- City Administration gives a presentation
- Public members speak (5 minutes)
- Committee asks questions of speakers
- Committee asks questions of Administration
- Committee debates issue
- Committee makes a decision by motion
Here is a video on the process to go to speak in front of committees and city council:
I hope this series has shown you how your city government contributes to creating a high quality of life within your communities. We were able to discuss the roles and responsibilities of City Council, learn about how citizens can interact with their city council, and lastly, learn about the different types of committees.
For anyone looking to learn more City Hall School has gone virtual!
“Through Virtual City Hall School, we are able to build connections between students and the City, highlight some of the work City people are doing, and bring students hope, along with activities to explore based on the conversations.”