Several months back, in response to one of our posts, a reader was interested in asking the Lewisville City Council to take action on something, and asked: "Can you tell me what we have to do, in order to speak?" Although I responded in the comments, I thought it might be handy to post this as a blog post, so I can link to it later and have it handy to send people.
When and Where Lewisville City Council Meetings are Held
The Lewisville City Council generally meets at 7:00 PM on the first and third Mondays of each month at City Hall, 151 West Church Street, Lewisville, TX [ Map ].
Agendas are posted here no later than 72 hours in advance of a meeting. They're usually posted on a Thursday evening or on Friday.
When the first or third Monday falls on a holiday, the Council meeting is usually moved to the following Monday.
How to Speak to the Lewisville City Council at a Council Meeting
It's pretty easy. Just show up at city hall prior to any Council meeting and grab a copy of the agenda. What you want to do is see whether the thing you want to talk about is on the agenda or not.
Grab a "speaker card" from the table where the agendas are, (or print one from the link given) and you have two choices:
If the item is on the agenda, you will want to speak to that agenda item. If the item is not on the agenda, you can speak during the "Citizens Forum", but the Council is limited in that they can't take action on the item, and their response to you will be limited to a statement of facts, or that a staff member will look into it and get back to you, or that the item can be placed on a future agenda.
Just fill out the card and hand it to the attendant at the table, then go into the meeting and wait for the Mayor to call you up to speak.
You'll be limited to 5 minutes in most cases.
Usually around 6 PM (it varies), the Council will have a short workshop meeting to hear presentations or have general discussions of agenda items. This is held in a smaller room next to the Council chambers, but the public is also invited. It is a great opportunity to listen and get more information than you would otherwise. The council recently started allowing citizens to fill out speaker cards for workshop, but it seems rare for anyone to do it. Many times, the presentations given here are a preview of what may be on the agenda for discussion several weeks or months down the road.
Emailing the Lewisville City Council
Another thing that you can do is to email the Council and City Manager with your concerns:
Mayor Dean Uekert: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor Pro Tem Rudy Durham: email@example.com
Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Leroy Vaughn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman T.J. Gilmore: email@example.com
Councilman R. Neil Ferguson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman John Gorena: email@example.com
City Manager Claude King: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about agendas, minutes, or procedures, contact City Secretary Julie Heinze: email@example.com
When you email, consider two important things:
1) State open meetings laws do not allow them to respond by email when more than one other councilman is included. So you may consider sending seperate messages, or using BCC, so that a Councilman can hit "Reply" and not be concerned about breaking the law.
2) Remember that emails to public officials are a matter of public record, so keep that in mind while composing your email. If you have something sensitive you want to discuss, consider sending your phone number and asking for a call.
Phone or Postal Mail
P.O. Box 299002
151 W. Church Street
Lewisville, TX 75029-9002
One Last Thing
Consider one last thing when you talk to your Council member: Aside from a measly $50 per meeting token payment, your Council members are essentially volunteers, doing this in addition to whatever it is they do to support themselves and their families. They don't do it for the pay. The $50 is not a lot to read several hundred pages of documents and sit through a long meeting. It never hurts to say "Thanks" if one gives you some of their time.
Okay, one more last thing
Each of the council members has their own style of communication. They are not all good about checking and returning or acknowledging email. Some of them prefer to work by phone. I highly suggest you consider including your phone number in your emails so that they can call you if that works better for them.
Originally Posted 7/5/2010 - Last updated 12/23/2011