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citizen input rules.DOC

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — Columbus city leaders know they need to bring a little order to the public input section of city council meetings.

But they can’t quite agree on how.

During a special meeting Tuesday, council members tabled proposed new rules for citizen input. The rules would make citizens register six days in advance, meet with a city department head or councilman first about the subject to see if it could be resolved, talk only about city issues, and limit talks to no more than five minutes.

But Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor questioned limiting citizens to three appearances a year.

“I can’t go for that…these are open meetings,” Taylor told his fellow Council members.

“This isn’t targeting any one person or any group or anything, but this would limit some of the frivolous kind of stuff,” Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box said of the rules.

Ward 6 Councilman Bill Gavin, who served on the committee that helped craft the rules, said the proposal would help bring decorum back to meetings and prevent the council from being “blindsided.”

But he and the others eventually agreed to send the plan back to the study committee for more discussion before the council meets again June 17.

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