Why is the public able to comment at any public meeting?

The PA Sunshine Act gives the public the right to comment on issues "that are or may be before the board". This means that boroughs, authorities, and similar agencies must have a reasonable opportunity for residents and/or taxpayers to comment on an issue before a decision takes place.

Per Resolution 2016-1, a period of public comment is held at each meeting for residents and taxpayers of the Borough in accordance with the following guidelines:

The Borough Council President presides over the public comment period of Borough Council Meetings and may within their discretion:

  1. Require identification of such person(s); and
  2. Limit the amount of time each person wishing to comment may speak on their own to five minutes, an individually allotted time of which is non-transferable except as set forth herein; and
  3. Direct questions to the appropriate person to respond however no response shall be required; and
  4. Decline to permit questions or comments deemed irrelevant to the topic or presented in a manner inconsistent with the procedures; and
  5. Rule out of order any scandalous, impertinent and redundant, and argumentative comments or any other comment made for the discernible purpose of which is to disrupt or hinder the conduct of the business of the meeting; and
  6. Order removed any such person(s) violation the provisions of section 5 above following proper verbal warning.

The time allocated for the public comment period at each meeting shall remain at five minutes for each speaker unless modified at the discretion of Borough Council upon good cause shown, including situations in which persons desiring to speak comprise a group of three or more, in which case one person shall be appointed as a spokesperson for such group and such spokesperson shall be allotted up to a maximum of ten minutes to offer comment.

In the event there is insufficient time for public comment at a meeting, Borough Council may, at its discretion, defer the public comment period to a meeting held in advance of the next regular or special meeting or until the next regular meeting.

The use of audio recording devices, video cameras and video cameras with audio recording is permitted at public meeting of the Borough under the following guidelines:

  1. The use of any recording device shall occur in a manner which shall not interrupt nor interfere with the conduct of business by Borough Council.
  2. Recording devices shall be used from the person's seat in the audience or from the back of the room, however no such recording devices shall be placed upon Borough Council's table.
  3. At the commencement of any meeting, any person wishing to record the meeting shall announce to Borough Council and to the members of the public in attendance that they intend to record the meeting.
  4. Use of any recording devices shall be accomplished in such a manner as to not interfere with any other members of the public's ability to fully participate in the meeting.
  5. Use of video equipment shall occur from the back or side of the room and shall not be located in front of other members of the public so as not to interfere with the view of other members of the public.
  6. Persons using audio and/or video recording devices are solely responsible for complying with all applicable state, federal and local laws and are solely responsible for any loss, destruction or theft of their recording equipment and/or video equipment.

The use of cell phones, radios and other two-way communication devices are prohibited during any public meeting with the exception of essential personnel acting in their official capacity. Members of Council, Mayor, staff and the general public must turn off or silence these devices during any public meeting and must step out of the meeting room before using such a device.

As part of the official record (minutes) all citizens, taxpayers and attendees are requested to print their name and location on an official "Sign-In Sheet" that is provided prior to each meeting. At the discretion of the Borough Council President, those person(s) who have failed or refused to sign-in may be passed over during the public comment period of the meeting proceedings and requested to comply with this policy regulation or exit the meeting altogether. It will be made clear in those instances that the individual has waived their right to address Borough Council by their failure to comply with the Borough's request.