What to expect in a City Council meeting?

When You Arrive

Unless otherwise advertised, meetings are held in the Council Chambers in the lower level of New Brighton City Hall. There are copies of meeting agendas available on the table outside the room. You are welcome to take one and follow along. There is also a single copy of the packet of meeting materials the City Council received to prepare for the meeting. You are welcome to look through it. However, we do ask that you not remove the packet or any of its pages as it is our archival copy and helps us build our city history. If you would like a copy of the packet of materials, you may download it for free on the New Brighton archive website or you may request a copy from the City Clerk's office using the Data Request form.

If you arrive after the meeting has already started, you are welcome to open the door and quietly find a seat in the audience.

Call to Order & Roll Call

The Mayor presides over the meeting. When it is time for the meeting to start, the mayor will take attendance and call the meeting to order. State law requires that a quorum, or majority, of the City Council be present in order to conduct city business. If there is not a quorum, by law the meeting may not proceed.

Pledge of Allegiance

The Mayor will lead the City Council in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. As a member of the audience, you will be asked to stand and participate.

Public Comment Forum

The Mayor will ask if anyone in the audience wishes to address the City Council. If you would like to speak to the City Council, you are welcome to raise your hand. When you are recognized by the Mayor, you may approach the podium located in the center of the room. Please begin your comments by citing your name and address for the public record. Speakers are asked to limit their comments to three minutes. If you have a handout, brochure, or letter you would like to submit to the City Council at this time, please do not approach the City Council dais. Instead, let the Mayor know from the podium. She will have a staff member come and get the handouts from you.

Approval of the Agenda & Minutes

The meeting agenda becomes official after it is approved by the City Council. City Council members reserve the right to ask that an item be added to or removed from the agenda. If such a request is made, the City Council will vote on this proposal using parliamentary procedures. Proposed changes could be approved or denied.

Minutes, once approved, are the official record of the city meetings. The City Council has an opportunity to make corrections and clarification their meeting minutes before approving them.

The City Council also publicly acknowledges receipt of official copies of approved commission minutes.

Special Order of Business

During this portion of the meeting, the Mayor may make proclamations or speakers from outside agencies may present reports or other information to the City Council. Law enforcement officers or newly elected officials take their oaths of office during this portion of the meeting as well.

Consent Agenda

The City Council will vote on a variety of routine business items with one motion.

Public Hearings

Minnesota state law requires cities to hold public hearings when it is considering certain kinds of city business. Often, these public hearings are held during Planning Commission meetings. Other times, they will be held during a City Council meeting. During a public hearing, there will generally be a report delivered by a city staff member followed by a brief discussion of the City Council. The Mayor will then invite members of the public to comment on the business item at hand. As with the Public Comment Forum held at the beginning of the meeting, when the Mayor asks if anyone wishes to speak, raise your hand. When she calls on you, you may approach the podium and you will be asked to limit your comments to three minutes. When all comments have been heard, the City Council will resume their discussion and may bring the item to a vote.

Council Business

Generally, staff will deliver a presentation providing background information to the City Council. The City Council will discuss the item and either direct the City manager to have staff return with more information or they will put the item to a vote.

Sometimes, the City Council will consider ordinances - either as a business item or as part of the consent agenda. Ordinances don't just provide a direction to staff or establish a policy. Ordinances are legal documents that establish fees, change the official city map or are incorporated into City Code and change New Brighton's municipal laws.

Commission Liaison Reports, Announcements & Updates

City Council members and the City Manager share items of interest and provide updates about the activities of committees and commissions they serve on.


The City Council formally ends the meeting.

If you wish to leave before the meeting has formally ended, you may quietly do so at any time.

Show All Answers

1. What to expect in a City Council meeting?
2. When does the City Council meet?
3. How to watch or read what the City Council and Commissions are working on?
4. How to voice your opinions and or get involved?