Public Comments in Meetings

Current Procedure

The Southern Pines Town Council is committed to allowing members of the public an opportunity to offer comments and suggestions. In addition to public hearings, a special time is set aside for the purpose of receiving such comments and suggestions. All comments and suggestions addressed to the council during the Public Comment Period shall be subject to the following procedures:

  1. The Public Comment Period will be held at the end of the council meeting.
  2. Each person choosing to speak is asked to keep their statements to a reasonable length in time in recognition that others may also wish to speak and that the council requires time to conduct its normal business. The chair retains the right to limit discussion as he/she deems necessary.
  3. Speakers will be acknowledged by the mayor / chair. Speakers will address the council from the lectern at the front of the room and begin their remarks by stating their name and address for the record.
  4. Public comment is not intended to require the council and/or staff to answer any impromptu questions. Speakers will address all comments to the entire council as whole and not one individual member. Discussions between speakers and members of the audience will not be permitted.
  5. Speakers will be courteous in their language and presentation. Matters or comments which are harmful, discriminatory, or embarrassing to any citizens, official, or employee of the town shall not be allowed. Speaker must be respectful and courteous in their remarks and must refrain from personal attacks and the use of profanity.
  6. Any applause will be held until the end of the Public Comment Period.
  7. Speakers who have prepared written remarks or supporting documents are encouraged to leave a copy of such remarks and documents with the clerk to the council.
  8. Speakers shall not discuss any of the following:
    • Matters which concern the candidacy of any person seeking public office, including the candidacy of the person addressing the council
    • Matters which are closed session matters, including but not limited to matters within the attorney-client privilege, anticipated or pending litigation, personnel, or property acquisition
    • Matters which are made confidential by law
    • Matters which are the subject of public hearings
  9. Action on items brought up during the Public Comment Period will be at the discretion of the Council.