During its regular meeting on Jan. 14, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved continuing to hold virtual weekly meetings through the end of February. They also approved conducting a trial process for accepting virtual public comments at the Jan. 21 meeting. The process will be as follows:
• Speakers will register in advance between Tuesday evening and noon on Wednesday, the day before the meeting. Instructions for registration will be posted on the county’s website in several locations, beginning Tuesday evening, Jan. 19:
• There is a limit of 50 speakers. If more than 50 people register, then 50 speakers will be selected using a random process conducted by the county’s Department of Technology and Innovation (DTI).
• Once selected, speakers will receive email confirmation and directions for the virtual public comment process, or an email stating they were not included in the random selection.
• Speakers will be limited to 2 minutes each.
• Public comments will be audio only.
• On Jan. 21, public comments will be received following the business portion of the meeting. Placement of this portion at subsequent meetings will be considered after Jan. 21.
In the virtual setting, the public comment portion of the meeting has consisted of written comments submitted to the board for its review. However, following requests by residents to allow them to once again participate during the public comment portion, it was during the Dec. 10, 2020, board meeting that the board approved the formation of a subcommittee to review virtual public comments and to recommend a process for receiving public comments while the board is meeting via Zoom. The subcommittee consisted of Chairman Eilert, Commissioner Ashcraft, and Commissioner Hanzlick.
The subcommittee consulted with the DTI, the Legal Department, and the Clerk regarding technology and procedures for accepting live public comments while the board continues to meet using Zoom. They also reviewed how other local governments are accepting public comments during this time.
Depending on how the process goes with the Jan. 21 meeting, the board may make modifications to the virtual comment procedures for future meetings. The board will continue to accept public comments via the online submittal form available at https://www.jocogov.org/BOCC-public-comment.