What is a FAQ? FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions.
Who wrote this FAQ? Frisco Mayor Maher Maso.
Where can I find the latest copy? You can email me or download it from here. Other websites may make it available. Please feel free to share this FAQ. I only ask that you check back often for any updates or simply link to this FAQ in your e-mail or from your website.
Why did you write this FAQ? Many Citizens come to speak before the Council for the first time. Their comfort level is low since, at times, it can seem overwhelming. I would hope this FAQ helps them feel more at ease in addressing the Council so that they can better articulate their thoughts. The City Council is also constantly amending the ordinances, some of which deal with presentation at Council Chambers. For example, the 5-minute time limit has been through several changes. This document will help Citizens keep up with those specific changes. Just remember, the council serves you, the resident and not the other way around!
How can I help? If you recently spoke at a Council Meeting and something confused you, please send me a note and I’ll try to clarify it in this FAQ so that everyone benefits.
Disclaimer: Any views or comments made by me in this document are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Frisco City Council or staff. This is NOT an official document. I highly recommend you contact the Frisco City Secretary at (972) 292-5010 if you have questions about the meetings. With the rapid growth we are experiencing in Frisco, any Ordinance or Policy stated in this document can easily become out of date.
Question: When are the Frisco City Council Meetings held?
Answer: The City Council meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month @ 5:00 pm. Special City Council meetings are held as needed (which seems to be about 10 times a week these days!). To view current agendas, go to the City website and click on “Meetings” at the top of the page. Some months can only have one regular council meetings. July and December typically have one meeting.
Question: The meeting starts at 5:00, but when I came to watch, the Council went into executive session and I did not see them again until 6:30?
Answer: The public portion of the City Council meeting used to start at 6:30 p.m. Executive Session was usually held during the meeting, which increased the length of time Citizens had to wait for certain agenda items. In an attempt to reduce the inconvenience to Citizens, the Mayor and City Council made a decision to hold the executive session before the start of the public meeting. The Mayor will call the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. and then the Council will go into Executive Session. The public portion of the meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. At times, we may run late in executive session. The public portion of the meeting never begins before 6:30PM.
Question: Where are City Council Meetings held?
Answer: Regularly scheduled City Council meetings are held at the George A. Purefoy Municipal Complex at 6101 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco, Texas 75034.
Question: Are the meetings open to the public?
Answer: Yes. All City of Frisco government meetings are open to the public and must abide by all open meeting laws. Notices are posted in front of City Hall and on the City website.
Question: Can I speak at the City Council Meetings?
Answer: Yes. The Mayor and Council encourage the Citizens to express their viewpoints and comments through any and all means available to them. There are three types of public input allowed.
- Citizen Input: This is the opportunity for any Citizen to come before the Council and share any comments or concerns that are NOT on the regular agenda. If you are attending the Council Meeting in regards to an agenda item, you would not use the Citizen Input time to discuss the item. You must sign up to speak by filling out a speakers card found in the back of the room. Fill the card out and give it to Jenny Page, our City Secretary. There is a time limit (see below). Citizen Input starts at approximately 7:30 p.m.
- Agenda Item, public hearing: If you are at the council chambers to give your input on a public hearing, you would not use the citizen input time to discuss the agenda item. You do need to sign up to speak. Please give the card to Jenny Page, our City Secretary. The Council will open the public hearing and then the Mayor will ask if there is anyone to speak in favor of the item. After those in favor of the item have had their opportunity to give their input, the Mayor will ask if there is anyone to speak against the item. When all those who came to speak on an item have had an opportunity to offer their comments, the Council will close the public hearing. At that point, there are no further comments from the audience regarding the agenda item unless the Council needs a clarification and requests it. There is a time limit (see below).
- Agenda Item, not a public hearing: You may speak on any agenda item. You will have to register to speak on the agenda item that interests you before the item actually comes up for discussion. There are signup sheets available near the entryway to the council chambers. You fill out the sign-up sheet and give it to the City Secretary. Please note: You will NOT be able to speak if you have not signed up to do so. There is a time limit (see below).
In all cases, please be prepared. Move to the front and be ready to approach the podium when it is your turn. In all cases, the speaker must give his or her name, address and, if they are there representing someone else, state who they are representing.
Question: Is there a time limit for addressing the Council?
Answer: Yes. Unless there is extenuating circumstances, you are limited to 5 minutes. The City Secretary has created a helpful hints sheet that is available in the back of the room. This will help you in identifying ways to present your views in a clear and concise manner. The time limit is in place to insure everyone has the opportunity to express his or her views. It is not unusual for the Council Session to last until midnight. To be fair to all those that wait for agenda items that are towards the end, we must enforce this policy. There is a timer on the podium that will alert you when your time is up. Please close your statements as soon as possible to allow the next person to speak.
During periods of heavy attendance or the list of speakers is lengthy, the Mayor may reduce the maximum time for a speaker to 3 minutes.
Question: What are extenuating circumstances and what if I need more than 5 minutes?
Answer: The Council decides any extenuating circumstances. You are strongly encouraged to keep presentations/comments to less than 5 minutes. You must request a time extension prior to the agenda item you are interested in by calling the City Secretary prior to the council meeting. The Council will take a vote prior to your presentation on whether you will be granted the extra time.
Question: I spoke during the citizen input session. Why didn’t the Council discuss the issues I raised? Don’t they care about what I had to say?
Answer: By law, we must post any items that are up for discussion to allow all interested parties the opportunity to be heard and to offer their input. The Council cannot discuss any item that is not on the agenda. We can instruct staff to follow up with a speaker or gather information for future presentation as an agenda item. While it may seem like we don’t care by our lack of discussion, that is not the case. Many of the agenda items that we are discussing have come about from the input we received during citizen input at prior meetings. Our citizens are a valuable resource as we manage the growth in our City and we look forward to hearing your comments.
Question: What information should I give when addressing the Council?
Answer: You should always state your name and address (including city). Also, if you are there representing someone other than yourself, you should state who you are representing.
Question: Are you serious? Do the meetings really run until midnight?
Answer: Yes, at times, they can run until midnight. A few years ago, meetings routinely ran until 2 or 3AM. Frisco is experiencing rapid growth. The size of our agenda makes for very long meetings. Please be patient with us as we chart our future.
Question: The agenda is confusing, what do the different sections mean?
Answer: The agenda is organized in order which the items will be called. Generally, the agenda is organized in this manner:
- Call to Order The Mayor will call the meeting to order at 5:00 for regularly scheduled meetings. We will then adjourn to go into executive session. The public meeting will start at approximately 6:30 pm.
- Invocation The Mayor, Council Member or a pastor from one of the local churches will give the invocation.
- Pledge of Allegiance The Deputy Mayor Pro Tem will call for the Pledge of Allegiance. Usually a Citizen or group from Frisco will lead us.
- Special Proclamations or items For example, canvassing a local election may go here.
- Citizen Input Citizen Input will generally be skipped until 7:30 p.m. to allow Citizens to appear that may not be able to do so at an earlier time.
- Staff Reports Any special reports by the City Staff will be presented at this point. This can include City Manager updates as well as progress reports.
- Consent Agenda The consent agenda contains items that are considered routine in nature and are considered non-controversial. The entire consent agenda is voted on in one motion. If there is something on the consent agenda that you want to discuss, do not wait for that item to come up because it won’t. You need to request that one of the Council Members pull that item off the consent agenda. Removal from the Consent Agenda requires a majority vote of the Council, however it has been policy of the Council to remove items upon request.
- Legislative Agenda These items may legally require council action, but by council policy should be the City Managers responsibility. The entire Legislative Agenda is voted on in one motion. If there is an item on the Legislative Agenda that you want to discuss, do not wait for that item to come up because it won’t. You need to request that one of the Council Members pull that item off the Legislative Agenda. Removal from the Legislative Agenda requires at least two council votes.
- Regular Agenda These are the regular City Council items that will be discussed during the evening. Things such as zoning cases, council policy, purchasing decisions and over-all city business. Some of these items are public hearings (see notes on public hearings in this document). These items take a majority of the City Council meeting time. Please be patient as our agendas are, at times, very long. The City Council can decide to go into executive session (also called “closed session”) at any time.
- End of Agenda The agenda ends with a review of the evening by Council. Staff will be instructed to place items on future agendas as needed. For example, items that come up from Citizen Input may need to be addressed at a future meeting. A City Council member will grade the rest of the Council. This is basically a report card for us to use to improve the meetings.
Question: I’m interested in watching the Council, but with all the commitments I have, I cannot attend the Council Meetings. Are the meetings televised?
Answer: Yes. You can watch the Council Meeting broadcasts on the following channels: Time Warner Cable Channel 16, Grande Cable Channel 12, Verizon FIOS Channel 37, AT&T U-verse Channel 99. Council meetings are also streamed live from the the city web site and are available via on-demand streaming at any time.
Question: I have some concerns or questions; do I need to wait until the Council Meeting?
Answer: No. There are many ways to reach the City Council and City Staff. The City operates a website at http://www.friscotexas.gov. You can find the email addresses of the individual Council Members on that website. You can also send an email to email@example.com and every City Council Member and our City Manager will receive it. You can also call City Hall at 972-292-5000 and ask for the voice mailbox of any Council Member. There is a message board on the City website that you can utilize for questions. Please note, the City message board is moderated. Only city related questions are allowed. We have a very responsive City Council that is always willing to listen to any Citizen.
FAQ last updated on 25 October 2011