The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected nearly every part of our lives, and city
meetings aren’t immune from impact.
Our City Council has still been holding most of their regularly scheduled meetings, but they look a lot different now. In fact, they don’t “look” like anything at all. The meetings are being held over the Zoom online platform using voice only. The council and staff attend over the computer or via phone call. They can all speak and be heard, but no one can see each other. This presents some interesting issues for our government, such as the inability to read facial expressions or body language of the others in attendance, as well as not always being sure who is speaking.
Since you know it is still important to stay informed, you may be wondering if or how you can attend this new type of city meeting. The short answer to this question is “yes”, but it’s more complicated than that. First, you need to know when the meetings are being held. You can access the yearly meeting schedule on www.coalvillecity.org under the “Public Meetings” link. You can also look under the “Calendar” link in the bottom right hand corner of the city’s homepage. Notice of meetings or cancellations should be included there. A couple of the council members also post the agendas on their public Facebook pages and we post about them on ilovecoalville.com. The very best way to make sure you know about the meetings is to subscribe to the email list at the Utah Public Meeting Notice Website. The link for that is www.utah.gov/pmn. Once there, you select the government, the entity and the body. In this case it would be “Cities”, “Coalville” and “City Council”. Once you have filled out all three fields, you enter your name, your email and verify that you are not a robot by checking the box. Last, click “Subscribe to this Body”. You will then receive email notifications of every Coalville City Council meeting/agenda or cancellation of a scheduled meeting right in your inbox.
Connecting to a Meeting
Now that you know when the meeting is held, you have to figure out how to attend it. The notice on the city’s webpage or in your email should include the phone number and pin or computer link to join the meeting at the very bottom of the page. The public can “attend” these meetings by calling the phone number or clicking on the Zoom link , but they are not a participant in the meeting. This means the public can hear the meeting, but they do not have a connected microphone and cannot be heard. Also, the city staff can not tell which public members are attending the meeting because all they can see on their end are the phone numbers or computer numbers of the public in attendance. Most of the time, it only takes one phone call or a couple of clicks to join the meetings, but with all technology there are times it is much more frustrating. So far, Coalville City hasn’t attempted a public hearing on this forum. Hopefully we can go back to in person meetings before that is necessary.