City Council Meetings & Work Sessions - Ways to Watch, Attend, Comment
The Durham City Council welcomes and encourages civic participation and debate, and there are many ways for residents and community members to stay informed and offer input in the decision-making process.
General Notice of Virtual City Council Meetings and Work Sessions
Because of the risks to the public that would arise from continued in-person meetings, the City is converting regular City Council meetings and Work Sessions to a virtual format for the duration of the North Carolina and City of Durham States of Emergency.
City Council Regular Meetings
When: Held the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month at 7 p.m.
Where: The City is holding virtual City Council Meetings for the duration of the North Carolina and City of Durham States of Emergency.
What: City Council hears priority items from the Council Members, City Manager, Attorney, and Clerk, presents ceremonial items, votes on the Consent Agenda, reviews the General Business Agenda, and conducts public hearings.
Ways to Watch
City Council Meetings will be broadcast live and available for viewing by the public through the following methods:
- City’s website
- City’s YouTube Channel
- City’s Facebook and Twitter pages
- Durham Television Network (Spectrum Channel 8, Google Fiber Channel 8, Frontier Channel 70, and AT&T Uverse Channel 99)
- Roku, Apple TV & Amazon via Boxcast
two Ways to Provide Comment
City Council Meetings are open to the public, and community members may sign up to provide comment on agenda items or public hearings.
1. Comment on Agenda Items
The public may comment on items in the Consent Agenda or General Business Agenda at City Council Meetings.
- View meeting agendas.
- To provide written comment on agenda items, complete the Public Comment Form by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting.
- Or, contact the City Clerk’s Office at 919-560-4166 during business hours (Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) in advance of the meeting.
2. Comment on Public Hearings
Public hearings are held by the City Council to give citizens the opportunity to comment on current issues involving the city. All public hearings are advertised and placed on the council’s agenda to receive citizen remarks.
Please Note: Sign up prior to the start of the meeting is not required for public hearings, for matters added to the agenda at the council meeting, or for matters removed from the consent agenda at the council meeting by a council member.
Sometimes Special Meetings are scheduled to address specific topics or issues. These meetings will be advertised with at least 48 hours notice and placed on the Council’s agenda. In some emergency situations it may not be possible to provide advance notice. These meetings will be noted with a star on the City Council calendar.
City Council Work Sessions
When: Held on Thursdays at 1 p.m., two weeks prior to each regular business meeting
Where: The City is holding virtual City Council Work Sessions for the duration of the North Carolina and City of Durham States of Emergency.
What: Informal working sessions where City Council hears "Citizens Matters," receives information briefings and presentations, and discusses departmental agenda items.
Ways to Listen
Work sessions are broadcast live and the audio is available for live stream or on demand.
Two Ways to Provide Comment
Work Sessions are open to the public, and community members may sign up to address City Council on a matter of interest or concern during "Citizens Matters," or comment on agenda items.
1. Comment on Non-Agenda Items (Citizen Matters)
At Work Sessions, residents may address the City Council about a matter of their own concern during "Citizen Matters" beginning at 1 p.m.
In order to speak at a Work Session to non-agenda items, requests should be sent to the agenda coordinator at least 10 calendar days prior to the Work Session date using one of the following methods. This process gives City staff adequate time to review the concerns and to give an informed response when the resident appears before Council.
- Submit online via the Request to Appear Form
- Printable Request to Appear Form (PDF)
- Fax requests to (919) 560-4949
- Print forms are also available in the City Manager’s Office and should be mailed to:
City Manager’s Office
101 City Hall Plaza
Durham, NC 27701
2. Comment on Agenda Items
Residents who would like to comment on agenda items must arrive before the start of the Work Session and complete a speaker card.
Please Note: Should a Council member wish to allow a citizen who has not submitted a written request to present an issue at the work session, a 2/3 majority vote of the entire Council is required to suspend the rules of procedure.
Rules of Decorum for Citizen Participation
Rules of Decorum exist that are used to govern time, place and manner of expression to ensure responsiveness to your concern.
In support of and respect for an open, fair and informed decision-making process, the City Council and the Administration recognize that:
- Civil, respectful and courteous discourse and behavior are conducive to the democratic and harmonious airing of concerns and decision making; and
- Uncivil discourse and/or discourteous and inappropriate behavior have a negative impact on the character and productivity of the decision-making process.
- In an effort to preserve the intent of open government and maintain a positive environment for citizen input and Council decision-making, the following Rules of Decorum have been established.
Compliance with these rules is expected and appreciated. The Rules of Decorum will be included in the agenda and will be referenced at the beginning of each council meeting and council work session by the presiding officer. A written list of the Rules of Decorum will also be printed and mounted upon the walls of the Council Chambers and the Committee Room.
- All citizens may participate in the public process.
- The Mayor serves as the presiding officer of the Council, the Mayor Pro Tem serves in the Mayor’s absence.
- Citizens must sign up to address council using procedures outlined for council meetings and Council Work Sessions.
- Citizens may speak only to the matter for which they signed up and, in the case of public hearings, those matters which have been advertised and placed on the council meeting agenda.
- Citizens are encouraged to prepare remarks in advance for submission to the public record. Prepared remarks should be submitted to the clerk prior to the start of the meeting or at the end of their comments. Additional material may be submitted to supplement remarks.
- In an effort to accommodate all who wish to address council at a council meeting while preserving a reasonable and efficient meeting schedule, each speaker will have a specified amount of time to deliver comments. Comments will be timed by the City Clerk or designee; signals will be provided at the 1-minute and 30-second measures. Speakers are expected to cease comments immediately upon end-time. Citizens who sign up in advance will be allowed to speak for up to 5 minutes.
- Speakers will conduct themselves in a civil and respectful manner at all times.
- Speakers will address the presiding officer.
- Questions to council members or city staff will be facilitated by the presiding officer.
- Speakers will state their name and address.
- Speakers will make an effort to speak clearly into the microphone provided.
- Speakers will make an effort to speak succinctly.
- Speakers will refrain from the use of individual city staff names. It is appropriate to refer to staff by title and/or department.
- Speakers will refrain from the use of obscene language, “fighting words” likely to incite violence from the individual(s) to whom the words are addressed, or other language which is disruptive to the orderly and fair progress of discussion at the meeting.
- Speakers will refrain from making comments of a personal nature regarding others.
- Name-calling and/or obscenity is forbidden.
- Shouting, yelling or screaming is forbidden.
- Council Work Session or public hearing attendees (audience) will refrain from commenting, shouting, booing, clapping, stomping feet or other inappropriate and/or disruptive behavior. Brief clapping is permissible at the end of a speaker’s comments.
- Council Work Session or public hearing attendees (audience) should refrain from private conversation during meetings.
- Council Work Session or public hearing attendees (audience) should come and go as necessary from meeting space in the least disruptive manner as possible.
- No campaign placards, banners, or signs will be permitted in the City Council Chambers or Committee Room. Other signage is permitted except signs which violate the Rules of Decorum or that block the view of other attendees.
- Exhibits, displays, and visual aids used in connection with presentations to the City Council are permitted. Video presentations requested by citizens as visual aids may not be broadcast over cable television due to technological challenges.
It is the intent of council to maintain order and enforce Rules of Decorum for its meetings. Disregard of these rules will be met with the following consequences:
- The presiding officer will identify out loud the out-of-compliance behavior and request for the behavior to stop.
- The presiding officer, City Clerk or designee will read out loud the relevant “rule of decorum.”
- If the behavior continues, the microphone provided for the speaker will be switched off.
- If the behavior continues, the offending individual or party will be escorted out of City Hall by the police officer on duty for the meeting.
All other municipal or state laws and enforcements will apply.
Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communications, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a City program, service, or activity, should contact the City’s ADA Coordinator as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the scheduled event.
If you would like the assistance of an interpreter when you attend a City Council Meeting or Work Session, please email the request and meeting date to firstname.lastname@example.org. This notification must be sent at least ten calendar days in advance.