Meetings and agendas
Temporary Guidelines for Remote Meetings during the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency
Guideline 1. Due to public health concerns raised by the presence of COVID-19 and a desire to reduce the health threat of COVID-19 in the County, the Board and the boards and commissions appointed by the Board, may conduct public meetings using electronic means whenever necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate social distancing by County staff and members of the public.
Guideline 2. The County will continue to provide advanced notice of its public meetings, which notices should contain, at a minimum, the following additional information:
2.1 That participation is available by phone, including the call-in number(s).
2.2 That participation is available by internet, including a link to log in.
2.3 That participation is available by in-person testimony subject to these guidelines, including a link to the current version of these guidelines.
2.4 The manner and deadline by which written comment or evidence may be submitted, including without limitation a link to the County’s online comment portal.
2.5 Information and instructions on how parties and members of the public may access the agenda packet as well as any timely submitted written comments and evidence.
2.6 Information and instructions on how parties and members of the public may access a copy of the current version of these guidelines.
Guideline 3. If not provided in the notice, the following additional information should be included in the agenda packet:
3.1 Additional information and instructions on how parties and members of the public may participate in the public meeting by telephone.
3.2 Additional information and instructions on how parties and members of the public may participate in the public meeting by internet, including without limitation how members of the public can access the County’s free public wi-fi from the parking lot of the County Administrative Building (the “CAB”). (The County's wireless network is LPC Wireless, password is LaPlataCounty)
3.3 Additional information and instructions regarding the applicable guidelines for how parties and members of the public may participate in the public meeting by in-person testimony.
3.4 Additional methods for providing written comments or evidence, if any.
Guideline 4. In the event of a quasi-judicial hearing, the County staff should obtain advanced written consent and acknowledgment from the parties regarding the use of electronic means to conduct the meeting.
Guideline 5. For each meeting, the County should establish and notice a deadline by which written comments and evidence must be submitted. When possible, the deadline should not be less than, but may be more than, 72 hours prior to the public meeting. Notwithstanding the foregoing, written comments and evidence shall continue to be received for at least 24 hours after an agenda, or new agenda item, is first noticed to the public.
Guideline 6. County staff should number each page of the agenda packet prepared for the applicable meeting. If written comments or evidence are received prior to the established deadline, the same should be compiled, numbered consecutively to the agenda packet, and made available to the parties and the public.
Guideline 7. With respect to in-person public meetings in County buildings:
7.1 The maximum room occupancy shall, without limitation, comply with executive orders, public health orders, and other recommended guidelines such as social distancing for the safe conduct of in-person gatherings. The County Manager or presiding officer of a meeting is authorized to further restrict occupancy if deemed necessary to protect public health under the circumstances encountered at any particular meeting.
7.2 The County Manager should establish additional guidelines for where and how members of the public may line up outside of the building to provide comment and how members of the public will be rotated into and out of the building to maintain any established maximum room occupancy.
7.3 If required by the County Manager, no person shall enter a County building without a face covering.
7.4 The presiding officer should make reasonable efforts to receive public comment from those participating by phone or internet on a particular agenda item before receiving public comment from those waiting in line for in-person testimony for that same agenda item. However, the presiding officer may modify this priority due to inclement weather, number of in-person participants or other factors.
7.5 If the presiding officer believes conditions or conduct within the meeting poses a risk to public health, the presiding officer shall terminate the meeting.
Guideline 8. At the beginning of the meeting, and again throughout the meeting as the presiding officer determines is appropriate, the presiding officer or other staff moderator should provide a brief description of the meeting’s format, including without limitation:
8.1 Whether or not the meeting will include an opportunity for public comment.
8.2 If public comment will be included, instructions on how the public may provide comment by phone, internet, or in-person.
8.3 If public comment will be included, the time limits on each public comment for such meeting or agenda item, if any. Once the time limit has been announced, the moderator or presiding officer may enforce the time limit.
Guideline 9. When referring to written comment or evidence:
9.1 All participants should make reasonable efforts to refer to such materials by page number.
9.2 If such materials were not previously included in a packet or otherwise cannot be referred to by page number, the County should make reasonable efforts to display such materials on the screen for those participating by internet or in-person. The comments may also be orally described on the record, including the general content of the comment, the commenter’s name and the time and manner in which the comment was tendered.
Guideline 10. In the event of a quasi-judicial hearing, the presiding officer should confirm on the record with each party that the party consents to the use of electronic means to conduct the meeting.Board of County Commissioners resolution: guidelines for remote meetings in response to the COVID-19 disaster emergency