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. Now is your turn to ask for money and effort to be spent on those items you care about. What would you like to see included in the proposed budget?
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 opportunities to voice their opinions during the month of June.
During the next few months, you will be able to share your thoughts and ideas on important matters ranging from our city’s budget, changes to our zoning code, and the Cross Roads Small Development Plan. Below is a list of some of the key dates where YOU can plan to be involved by giving public comment:
- June 6 at 6 p.m.: First Public Hearing and Budget Workshop
- June 20 at 6 p.m.: Final Public Hearing and Budget Adoption
- Late July: Public meetings on Cross Roads and Zoning proposals
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. If you are interested in Public Comment Training please let us know you are interested by entering your contact information on the google form here.