Cape Coral City Council boosted the amount time earmarked for input from the public this week.
Total time for those wishing to speak during the citizen input portion of the Council agenda or during the period allocated for input on consent agenda items is now an hour for each segment.
That's up from 45 minutes, meaning five more speakers can share their views if everyone looking to address Council takes the full 3 minutes allotted to each.
While the meeting chair has always had the ability to extend public input time if an issue draws a crowd, the proposal brought forward by Councilmember Marilyn Stout and approved unanimously Monday was a proactive proposal made in the wake of some criticism that by cutting the number of meetings per month, the elected board effectively cut time afforded to "community voices" as well.
We also like a related suggestion made at Monday's meeting by Councilmember Rana Erbrick. She suggests that Council consider adding regular town hall meetings to its meeting schedule so that community members can offer comments in a less formal setting.
With interest indicated by at least three of her fellow board members, council members Stout, Jessica Cosden and Richard Leon, Councilmember Erbrick will do some research and bring a plan back to the board.
We look forward to the proposal. Opportunities to expand "facetime" are to be applauded.
Not that that is absent in Cape Coral.
Some on this sitting council, in particular, have made themselves accessible in a number of ways, including Mayor Marni Sawicki's informal "mayor's night outs;" town hall meetings called by individual council members to garner input, and online "live chats" that welcome questions from constituents.
These things are in addition to the to-be-expected speaking engagements and meet-and-greets and the various town halls and open houses held by many Cape Coral city departments such as the one set by the Cape Coral Police Department this weekend and the recent multi-station event hosted by the Cape Coral Fire Department.
We thank our elected officials - and city staffers - for their efforts.
And we urge our fellow residents and taxpayers to take advantage of the opportunities offered.
- Breeze editorial