Think of our city’s budget as a pie: there are slices of different sizes for parks and recreation, trees, public safety, traffic management and much more. The Next Ten Comprehensive Plan is the blueprint for how our city will be developed over the next 5 years.
Now is your turn to ask for money and effort to be spent on those items you care about. What is missing?
Our city leaders are in the process of making crucial decisions for Sandy Springs. With the future of our community at stake, Sandy Springs residents have important opportunities to voice their opinions during the month of June.
During this month, you will be able to share your thoughts and ideas on important matters ranging from our city’s budget to work plans for the Next Ten Comprehensive Plan. Below is a list of key dates where YOU can plan to be involved by giving public comment:
o June 7: City Council Work Session and initial FY2023 budget public hearing
o June 9: Public Open House + Virtual Engagement on Next ten 5-year update
o June 21: City Council final FY2023 budget public hearing
o June 22: Planning Commission Public Hearing Next ten 5-year update
If you wish to provide public comment, the city offers two ways to do so:
- In-person comment: An individual can choose to address the commission body in-person during the meeting. In-person speaker requests must be submitted to the City Clerk in advance of the start of the meeting.
- Audio conference via Zoom: Audio conference speakers must register to speak by noon on the day of the meeting.
After deciding how you are going to make a public comment, you should then consider exactly what you want to say. The most valuable public comments are unique, fact-based, and to the point. Following these practices will provide the most effective public comments.
Below are some more helpful tips on how to build a constructive public comment:
- Be personable, respectful, and courteous: make sure to introduce yourself and say where you reside to label yourself as a constituent; use the proper titles (councilor, mayor); thank the representatives for their attention and public service
- Tell a story when possible: personal anecdotes are powerful. Use a first person voice. How has the issue you are commenting on impacted you? Why is this issue important to you? Stories enable us to communicate lived experiences and can move others to action
- Provide research: if applicable, use data to bolster your comment. Make sure that you are up to date with local happenings related to your comment. Has there been a vote recently? Are additional agencies or organizations getting involved? Is this issue gaining notoriety, and how? What specific examples can you give to bolster your position?
- Prepare a clear ask: Say what you want the city leaders to do, clearly and repeatedly, and why, use the rule of three – tell them, tell them again, tell them what you told them.
- Be professional: avoid informal language and expletives. Your comment will go on record and be available to the public.
- Mind your time: Spoken statements or comments during city meetings are usually limited to two or three minutes per person. That time can go by quickly, so practice delivering your comment before the meeting to ensure your message can be completed within the limit. Use the following as a guide:
- 1-minute testimony = 130 words
- 2-minute testimony = 260 words
- 3-minute testimony = 390 words
This is an important time for our community, and your voice NEEDS to be heard. With a community full of engaged neighbors, we can take another step towards creating a Sandy Springs where everyone feels welcomed.