FLINT TWP. — Residents who regularly attend and comment and township board meetings have long lamented being restricted to three minutes speaking time.
But that will now change with the board’s approval to extend the speaking time to four minutes per person.
The four-minute limit, which passed 4-3, was an amended agreement initiated by Trustee Frank Kasle. It was first proposed to allow the public five minutes – three minutes at the beginning of the board meeting then two minutes to respond after board reports.
Public comment time was moved to the beginning of the board meeting last year. Some residents have frequently complained that three minutes is not enough time and that they are rudely cut off before they have finished making their points.
Kasle argued that four minutes is a reasonable length of time to speak. He noted that, given five minutes to speak, the six people who spoke during public comment, would have added 12 minutes to the public comment time. At some meetings there are more than six speakers.
Jerry Preston, a resident, said during public comment that three minutes was enough time. He said he has spoken during public comment at different levels of government, comes with a prepared and rehearsed statement and written copies for the board to avoid rambling and run-on.